By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
Scores of parents of children attending private schools in Ogun State on Sunday protested government’s decision to charge the sum of N25, 000 on each student before testing them for COVID-19 ahead of their resumption on Tuesday, August 4.
The parents, who besieged the MTR specialist Hospital Abeokuta, venue of the test, queried the rationale behind the levy which they said they did not prepare for.
The protesters also queried why government would impose any levy on students of private schools while their counterparts in public schools were tested free, arguing that the disparity was against the electioneering manifesto that brought in the present administration of free education.
They further argued that Covid-19 tests shouldn’t be compulsory for students, since the state government had instructed all schools to make adequate provisions for testing of their students before they resume in their respective school.
Speaking with journalists, the Vice Chairman of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of one of the private schools in state, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo questioned why government should discriminate between students in public and private schools adding that they are all children of the state that should be treated equally.
Speaking with journalists at the venue of the test, Director of Public Health, Dr. Olukayode Soyinka said he was not aware of the N25,000 Covid-19 test levy on private schools students.
Soyinka said Covid-19 tests had been free, stressing that he was instructed by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker to make himself available at the venue to provide conducive environment for the students.
He however disclosed that the test was organized by the state government in conjunction with a private laboratory company, 54gene under the Public Private Partnership arrangement.
One of the officials of 54gene declined comments on the ground that he lacked power to speak to the media.
He however explained that his company’s activities at the testing ground had the approval of the state government.