About 5,000 private schools and higher institutions of learning face permanent closure due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Planning Authority (NPA) has warned.
Rogers Matte, the manager macroeconomic planning at NPA says that the closure of schools as part of the COVID-19 preventive measures didn’t only lead to loss of educational opportunities but the education economy as well. Up to 15 million learners are currently stuck at home as a result of the closures.
Matte explained that due to the loss of revenue arising from the COVID-19 containment measures, it is anticipated that without significant support, about 3,507 private primary schools both urban and rural could close permanently.
At the secondary school level, a total of 834 (472 urban and 360 rural) poor private schools are likely to close due to financial distress. NPA says the situation is more serious for higher education as 80 per cent of private universities have already communicated financial distress to their staff.
NPA also warns that about 1,131 full-time staff in private universities are likely to lose their jobs. Matte says the future of students is at stake given that the lockdown has coincided with the planting season.
He says about 24 per cent of the learners, particularly from rural areas, are in gardens providing labour without time to study. He was appearing before the national economy committee of parliament to present the authority’s views on the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.