Kaduna Community Decries Non-Existence Of School Structures For Sixteen Years, Calls On Government Attention
Residents of Ungwan Maigero community, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis, have decried the state of the only public primary school in their area, saying it has been without structures since it was created in the year 2000, leaving their wards exposed to environmental hazards and hash weather.
The community also called for the timely intervention of the Kaduna state government as a matter of urgency to raise the school structure so as to make it conducive for learning.
According to one of the members of the community, Samson Iliya, the school has been in existence for 16 years, and several efforts aimed at gaining the attention of government yielded no positive results.
He noted that, the school has been without classrooms, chairs, desks, and blackboards to write on for its pupils. He said, “The pupils come to schools and manage to sit on broken blocks and stones. The blackboard they have now I know was purchased when a ‘Good Samaritan’ came and donated N5,000 to the school. When it rains now, school closes, because there is no shelter over their heads. So, you can see that the situation here is pathetic and unfortunate.
“The only shelter they have here are the trees they sit under during their classes. They are also exposed to dust and cold as well as the sun, depending on the weather,” he stressed.
Corroborating what Mr. Iilya said, Mrs. Veronica Ayuba called on Governor El-Rufai to visit the area and see the state of the school. She said, “You can see them sitting outside, under the tree. They are being exposed to the environment. Please, government, come and build our schools; our community is fast developing and we need a better environment for the pupils to learn.”
Chairman of the School Board Management Committee (SBMC), Mike Okolicho, explained that the school, which has both nursery and primary classes – with eight teachers, has made several efforts in order to attract government’s attention for the purpose of raising the structures.
He said, “We have been managing and going round to see that government provide classrooms in the school but they kept on promising to come around, which we are still expecting to see them soon. This school has existed since the year 2000. We had a small place by the main road then, but later decided to buy a bigger land, which is up to 10 plots, and it was bought through community efforts.
“The government asked the community to get a place – which we had gotten since, but there are no structures. We have teachers sent to us and even the school feeding program takes place here, but there are no classrooms for the pupils.
“We have laid a foundation of six classrooms with teachers’ office but we cannot complete it because of financial constraints on our side. We have sent letters upon letters and reminders to the government, but our hopes are not shattered because we believe the government would come to our aid,” he pointed out.
On its part, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Andrew Jonathan Nok, said the current administration has taken what he called a ‘multi-trunk’ approach with regards to restructuring the educational sector in the state, which could be evident in its commitment of 35 percent of the state’s budget to rehabilitations of primary/secondary schools, upgrading infrastructures, teachers’ training education, revitalizing science colleges and the primary school feeding programme.
On overpopulated schools and schools existing without structures in the state, Nok said, government has conducted an assessment across all the 23 local government areas and has begun renovations.
According to him, “Thus far, we have started commissioning some of the refurbished primary schools; one in Kawo and others in Abakpa and Badiko; toilet facilities and boreholes are fixed to ensure students have a good learning environment.
“Total assessment of all schools has been carried out and classified based on the state of how it is dilapidated. When you look at some of the schools, you will weep because there are no roofs, and in some areas some use ladder to get into their classes, while some classes have potholes. We are committed to changing the nature of those things entirely.
“About 273 classes are about 50 percent to be completed; we have about 105 that are ready for commissioning. We have 458 schools, which we have actually penciled down to do this, and we will continue doing this until the timeline of the administration. It is not just Ungwan Maigero that has this problem, but we have quite a number like that, and we are attending to it very vigorously. Work is in progress.”
The Commissioner further stated that, the state government is making an arrangement with a Tarpaulin Company in Zaria for schools that are overpopulated to sit under, while the work progresses.