Parents react to the directives of Ogun state govt for them to pay N25,000 fee for students’ Covid-19 tests
Parents of exit class students in private secondary schools in Ogun State, on Sunday, protested the imposition of N25, 000 COVID-19 test fee on each student by the state government.
The parents insisted that the COVID-19 test should be free, noting that asking them to pay N25, 000, to get a child tested, without being mindful of the current economic reality in the country, was the height of insensitivity.
The state government had mandated returning students to take malaria and COVID-19 tests at government-designated facilities in Okemosan, Abeokuta, Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State General Hospital, Ota.
In a statement, the Special Assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo said, “Part of the strong condition of admittance to school for boarding is the COVID – 19 certificate showing NEGATIVE.”
Parents were directed to present their children for the test at the designated places between Friday and Monday.
However, the angry parents on Sunday besieged the MTR 250 bed specialist hospital, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, one of the designated centres for the pupils in Abeokuta, to protest the government’s decision.
The protest, it was gathered, started when parents got to the centre, were mandated to pay N25, 000 each before the test will be carried out on their wards.
It was noted that the protest escalated when officials of the facility locked out many of them.
The Federal Government on March 19, ordered the closure of all tertiary, secondary and primary schools nationwide over the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the country.
It, however, in a statement said it has approved for schools to reopen on August 4, 2020, for pupils in exit classes to sit for their examinations.
The FG instructed that the students would have two weeks to prepare for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, organised by the West African Examinations Council, which commences on August 17.
The decision was reached after a virtual consultative meeting was held between the Federal Ministry of Education, Commissioners of Education of the 36 states, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, the proprietors of private schools, and Chief Executives of examination bodies.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said they agreed to prepare the students for WAEC exams that begin on August 17, adding that the resolution varied the timetable earlier released by as much as two weeks.
He said by the agreement, WAEC and all the countries in the regional body had agreed that the exams would proceed, but that those peculiar to Nigeria would be taken from September 5 to 14.
Nwajiuba, however, clarified that primary schools and other classes were excluded from the decision, adding that the stakeholders will report back on Friday to update the ministry on their preparedness.