Private schools and post COVID-19 profit-making. Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels
COVID-19 Response in Education: Should private schools adopt a ‘’non-profit’’ outlook?
There has been suggested that private schools adopt a “non-profit outlook for the next few months as most families are cash-strapped due to coronavirus pandemic. Should private schools adopt a ”non-profit” outlook?
Understandably, schools need a certain amount of money to function and pay their staff salaries as schools continue to reopen globally but the fact is that many families have been dealt with significant economic blows and as such are financially unstable at the moment. So, schools must be conscious of the economic instability faced by their students’ families.
Keeping in mind the current situation, a balance has to be struck between providing the school children a reasonable quality education and allowing the schools to stay afloat. Striking such a balance will help to protect the interest of the students and their respective parents and also the interest of the management of the poorly assisted or unassisted private schools.
School children, students, teachers, and families are facing new pressures on their time and resources that will make re-enrolment challenging for some families as schools reopen. One of the recommendations put forward to national governments as a measure to reduce costs of schooling is reduced school fees.
On July 16, the Indian State of Education Department instructed that schools shall not charge any tuition fees for the period between the physical closure of the schools and their physical reopening. Indian Minister of Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said that the fee issue would be resolved in a meeting with school management representatives to acceptable to both parents and guardians.
In Nigeria on the contrary, the reopening of schools on August 4 was announced by the Federal Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu for WAEC’s Senior School Certificate Examination and set dates to all pending external examinations. Amidst the uncertainty of the right implementation of the clear guidelines for school reopening, schools have been backed by the federal government to charge tuition fees for the third term.
There is also a need for schools to prove to the parents that their kids’ online learning is not a waste even when it is believed to be a less preferred alternative to traditional in-person classes.
Schools in many countries of the world are managing the education of school children and students remotely through online learning while. Thus, it is acceptable for the schools to charge a reduced post-COVID-19 reopening tuition fee to returning students and reasonable tuition fees to the parents for the online classes they conduct. Overhead fees like sports and recreation should be avoided.
It would be unfair for students’ parents to be paying for suspended school services when there were no activities. The schools might have to adopt a non-profit outlook for the next few months. Schools should allow fees to be paid on a monthly basis or in installments so fewer burdens are exerted on the parents. A flexible method of payment might encourage financially struggling families to keep their child’s education going.