Somalilandsun: Since 19th March of this year all educational institutions have been on Mandatory leave occasioned by a closure directive issued by the Somaliland national Corona virus task force.
The guidelines leading to the closure pertains to promoting social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 from children and youths to their virus vulnerable parents, grandparents and guardians.
While the order was acted upon by all educational institutions in the country be it universities, colleges, secondary and primary schools some parents are now being asked or forced to pay monthly fees.
This week parents of children learning in private schools have been contacted by administrators demanding for monthly April Fee payments especially in Hargeisa though similar incidents have been reported in the rest of the country.
In Somaliland it is usually obligatory for parents with children in private schools to pay fees during the months of vacation without any qualms for the privateers justify this on the premise that staff both teaching and administrative must be paid remunerations just as those in public schools are paid by the government.
Speaking to www.somalilandsun.com Ms Anab Yassin who is a single mother of three and a small cafe operator in Hargeisa revealed her dilemma upon receiving a call from the administrator of the private school her two children attend.
“My bussines is very low at this time for I am currently selling three threes of tea a day and ten plates of food while before I averaged over 30 tea flasks and same number of meals per day’ she said adding that it is almost becoming impossible for her to pay not only her kiosks rent but for her house as well.
For Farhan Dubai a father of seven and dependant of remittances from the United Kingdom things are dire for he has been unable to receive anything since last month because one of his relatives has been diagnosed as positive and in a London hospital while another is not only out of work but can not visit any money transfer company because of the ongoing total lockdown there.
Despite the fact if aptness in this justification the current situation calls for a rethink since the guidelines leading to schools closure have also affected parents too.
First the parents most of them single mothers thus sole family breadwinners are no longer earning as they used to do in the pre-covid 19 days for the guidelines have seen a discernible reduction in their income generation.
Another reason is that most of these indefatigable Somaliland mothers are also staying at home in order to care of their children who are no longer in school thence an extra burden.
Another salient point here is that a large number of locals depend on remittances from their spouses or relatives in the diaspora who are unable to send anything due to the lockdowns in their mostly European countries of residence. Mainly after are those depending on remittances from the UK, Italy, France and Spain.
On the other hand the COVID-19 fears are also impacting on the local income generation as well since people are observing social distancing thus staying at home or curtail there trade activities by almost 50%.
It is with this prevalent scenario that everybody in Somaliland is grappling with thence a quandary for parents to be asked to pay school fees to educational privateers.
With these facts in place and while Cognizant that private schools are not in the same league with their public counterparts it is worthy to mention that they have and always do accumulate large sums from parents during periods of normality, thus their obligation to partake in the national war against the Corona virus.
This they, members of the Somaliland private schools association can do by either demanding half school fee payment or completely cease collection of the said for as long as the COVID-19 closures stick.
At the same time the Somaliland national Coronavirus Propalyctic Committee should come up with financial stimulus plans for the government to implement in a bid to protect the economy through protecting jobs especially in the private sector.