Devastated by Covid-19 that has starved them of cash, private school proprietors are now crying out to the government for help.
The proprietors have argued that they make a huge contribution to the education sector, but now feel left out by the government at their hour of need.
Consequently, private school managers in the North Rift said unless the government supports them before resumption of learning next year, they will be ruined.
“Covid-19 pandemic dealt us a major blow when schools were abruptly ordered closed in March. We rely on fees paid by parents to pay our staff, who are now jobless,” said Mrs Mary Tanui, Manager Lessos Education Centre in Nandi County.
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She said she feared for the 400 pupils, since they were not sure if all teachers would resume work.
“Some teachers have already hinted that they are in search of alternative employment rather than teaching. Most of our teachers completed their teaching courses from teacher training colleges about three years ago and are now demoralised,” said Tanui. She appealed to the government to consider offering soft loans to the institutions to enable them to resume operations when schools open.
“The government has only issued instructions that should be met in learning institutions, which are very expensive to implement and could discourage players in the private sector. The government should consider offering loans at low interest rates to enable private schools implement guidelines to curb the spread of Covid-19 once learning resumes,” she said.
Joanes Menjo, the proprietor of Roseve Educational Centre in Nandi, said infrastructure in private schools might not be adequate to meet the government guidelines of social distancing among pupils once schools reopen.
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“We urge the government to be considerate and support private institutions through repayable loans to expand existing facilities. Public schools benefit from National Government Constituency Development Funds and since this is an emergency, the State should also support private schools,” he said.
Menjo, also the Nandi branch chair of Private Schools Association, said their sub-sector contributes immensely in decongesting public schools, adding that pleas for support were genuine.
Joel Chepkwony, Director of King David Academy in Eldoret, said they last paid salaries for 14 teachers and eight subordinate staff in May.