Since the COVID-19 lockdown started in March this year, Mr and Mrs Ogunlola have not been able to feed and meet other obligations for themselves and their two-year-old twins.
This is because they are both teachers in private secondary schools in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State and have not received salaries due to the lockdown and school closure.
Mrs Ogunlola, who spoke to our correspondent on the phone, said her salary was N20, 000, while her husband earns N30,000. She added that the last time she got a full salary was in March, while her husband was only paid half salary that month and had not been paid a kobo since then.
“It has been rough and tough. After the March salary payment that I got, the other teachers and I got just half salaries again mid-May and since then, we haven’t got any other. My husband’s school is even worse. After they were paid half salaries in March, the school has not bothered to pay them again till now. We always beg relatives and friends for money to feed our twins, who are always crying of hunger,” she said.
Globally, countries that recorded the COVID-19 cases closed down all activities, including schools in order to curb its spread. In Nigeria too, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said it isn’t safe yet to reopen schools due to the increasing number of infections in the country.
As such, educational professionals, especially those in the private sector, who make income basically from school fees, are at the receiving end.
Investigations revealed that most teachers were struggling to feed their families due to the lockdown and their employers’ inability to pay them salaries.
Teachers, who are getting a fraction of their salaries, are those who work in schools that are conducting e-learning and they only charge a token. These schools are proactive and have been able to harness the benefits of online teaching through which they are able to pay certain amounts to their teachers.
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