In Nigeria, students forced to take Covid-19 tests for 25,000 naira

The government of Ogun State, Nigeria, is reported to have imposed a mandatory payment for Covid-19 tests on students returning to boarding school. Parents and children in private schools opposed this provision. Parents accused the government of discriminating between private and public school students.

The decision by the government of Ogun State of Nigeria, to impose a mandatory payment of 25,000 Naira for Covid-19 and malaria testing for students returning to boarding school in private schools has sparked protests among parents.

“It is expected that senior secondary students (SS3) will resume their studies before their West African Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), but the government has required every student to take a test as a precondition for the resumption of school,” the DailyTrust reported.

The government has said that no internees will be admitted to schools without a Covid-19 test certificate, which must be negative. In contrast, parents who have their children in private schools reportedly visited the 250-bed MTR specialist hospital, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the place designated for the test, on Sunday, 2nd August. But they were not able to have their children tested for free as they were asked to pay 25,000 Naira for each child.

The parents opposed the decision by protesting and blocking the entrance to the hospital while health officials rushed out of the premises.

Speaking on behalf of the parents, Kehinde Sanwo, vice-president of the Parents and Teachers Association of one of the state’s private schools, accused the government of discriminating between students in private and state schools.

Meanwhile, the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) has voiced fears of a “massive failure” of students in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which will start on 17th August.

To avoid a “massive failure”, there should be four to six weeks of academic review to allow students to prepare for the exam adequately, the Ogun State Association of Private School Promoters said in a statement.

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