A cross section of Headteachers in some public primary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed concern over inadequate provision of toilet facilities in their schools leading to open defecation by the pupils.
Some of the headteachers spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines of a Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) meeting held in the Abuja on Friday.
They said that the total neglect of the sanitation and hygiene needs of the schools in the nation’s capital was appalling.
Mrs Rose Ikemefuna, Headteacher, Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary School Kugbo, noted that the growing population of the pupils, came with increasing demand for more toilet facilities.
She said that no form of renovation was carried out on schools and their toilet facilities in the last 30 years, calling for immediate intervention to change the narrative.
Ikemefuna also said with the absence of perimeter fencing around the schools, community members usually found the school environment suitable for open defecation, thereby bringing odour into the school.
“We want the FCT Education Secretariat to come to the aid of the school, they visit us always to ask for challenges, we tell them, but nothing has been done.
“Children come to school, no water, no toilet, how do you want them to ease themselves when nature calls.”
on her part, Mrs Ozioma Iwunor, Headteacher, LEA Primary School Iddo-Sarki, said in her school, only two toilets were available for no fewer than 1,000 pupils, making the surrounding an eyesore.
“Even me, as a headteacher, I have to empty my bowel before leaving the house, because we don’t have toilets at all, the one here cannot be used, because it has become something else.
“We have written to the authorities to come to our aid, but nothing has been heard from anyone, we hope this meeting would bring succor to the school children,” she said.
Iwunor called for immediate intervention to help rebuild the image of the nation’s capital, adding that the health of the children was at stake.
Mrs Khadijat Shuaibu, Headteacher, LEA Primary School Kagini, noted that the lack of basic infrastructure for learning was militating against effective teaching in her school.
She said the continued practice of community members using the school environment as dump sites was worrisome, she also called for the construction of perimeter fence to halt the practice.
Shuaibu said “The main challenge of non-availability of toilets, no chairs and tables, no learning materials among others is alarming.
“The community members also are not helping us, when we close for the day, they jump into the classes to defecate inside, they throw refuse at the back of the classes, we need help soon.”
Mr Abubakar Mohammed, Headteacher, LEA Primary School Kabusa, expressed worry about government’s delay and commitment to implementation of policies to re-brand schools in the FCT.
He noted that under the Universal Basic Education Act, schools were under the concurrent list, hence the need to make the environment conducive for learning.
Mohammed said the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) and the school based management committees were also not committed to improving the quality of education in the country.
He stressed the need for monitoring and evaluation to understand peculiarities and challenges of each school in the FCT, for total overhaul and overall benefit of the country.