Aggrieved parents of Senior Secondary School students (SS3) in private schools in Ogun State, on Sunday, protested against the payment of N25, 000 levies for COVID-19 and malaria tests for their wards, as one of the prerequisites for admittance to their various schools on August 4.
The state government has in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Primary and Secondary Education, Ronke Soyombo, over the weekend, said that the State Ministry of Health had made provision for a COVID-19 and Malaria tests for all SS3 boarding students in the state.
This was said to be part of the conditions for the re-opening of schools, as they were asked to visit some public healthcare facilities centres in different parts of the state for the tests from last Friday, July 31st and Monday, August 3rd.
In the said statement, the only student with COVID-19 certificate reading negative would be allowed into any of the boarding facility.
However, this development had generated uproar amongst parents, who expressed displeasure on why they had to pay such an amount of money for the tests which were supposed to be free.
When Tribune Online visited one of the venues for the test in Abeokuta, the protesters wondered why students in the public schools would be tested free of charge and their wards in private schools would be asked to pay for similar tests.
Speaking with newsmen, the vice-chairman, Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the state, Dr Kehinde Sanwo, wondered why the government should ask students in the private schools to pay for the tests, saying all the students are children of the state and deserve equal treatment.
Sanwo said, “The parents here are good citizens of Ogun state who are taxpayers. It is so disheartening that we are here at the MTR hospital the venue for COVID-19 test and we are told to pay N25,000.
“We learnt that those who arrived earlier did not pay a dime. So, we don’t know where the decision came from. Some of us have more than two children. Why this segregation?”
At the time of filing this report, the state government through Soyombo promised to reach out to newsmen for the government’s reaction on the matter.