Kubau (Kaduna State) May 9,2019Some parents in Kubau, Kaduna State have called for support to rehabilitate Unguwan Diri Primary School which has virtually collapsed, leaving over 700 pupils to study in the open.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the school had six classrooms and a staff room all of which had no roof or furniture, forcing pupils to sit on the floor and take lessons under the sun.
Already, two of the classrooms had caved in as parents make frantic efforts to save the school.
Alhaji Sale Danjuma, Chairman of the school’s Management Committee, said many children in the area were not enrolled in school due to inadequate space.
According to him, the school was initially built by the community before it was taken over by the state Universal Basic Education Board.
“We lack enough schools in our community, so 12 years ago, we as parents collectively agreed to help ourselves by building this school from mud for our children since our cries to goverment to provide us with one turned on deaf ears.
“After building the classrooms, we approached the Council Chairman as at then and pleaded with him to provide teachers who can tutor our children.
“The chairman appreciated our efforts and then set up a committee that transformed it into a UBE school. We were provided with five teachers and we got five volunteers from amongst our children to teach there, ” he said.
Danjuma said the school began with a few children but now had about 738 students.
“These pupils have out numbered the classrooms, so we agreed that the younger children should be taught outside the classes on the mats while those at the senior primary should remain in the classrooms.
“As you can see, even those tutored in the classes that lack roofs suffer from sun burns.
“We are forced to send children home once it starts raining. Even their teachers sit under the hot sun to carry out their duties and do their lesson notes while other learning materials are kept in my house.
“We have graduated several set of pupils who are also doing well in secondary schools.
“We cannot allow the situation to deter us as parents because formal education is very important, hence we tasked ourselves and also sought for donations to rehabilitate the school,” he said.
Danjuma disclosed that the community had raised N400, 000 for the rehabilitation of the primary school before the rainy season commenced fully, but said the amount was grossly inadequate to effect full repairs of the school.
He therefore called on the state and local goverments to come to their aid and provide them better structure with chairs, tables and learning materials.
“Our major concern is how to roof the classes before rainfall becomes consistent. We have received donation of N400,000 for the roofing but it will not be enough, we need goverment and other neccessary stakeholders to come to our aid,” he added.
Meanwhile, a parent in the community, Ibrahim Kufaina said apart from the primary school, the community also required additional secondary school as the only Junior Secondary school was inadequate to accommodate growing number of students.
“We have just the JSS Tafiyau at Panbeguwa ward. Students treck distances of between 2-4 kilometers to attend the school.
“The school needs repairs and it is filled beyond capacity. Children come from as far as Unguwan Madaki, Tudun Amawa, Unguwan Kakale and Unguwan Barde”.
NAN reports that other schools visited, though in better condition, lacked desks and chairs, toilets, water and learning materials.
The District Head of Kubau, the Sarkin Dajin Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Umar, advised the goverment to involve traditional rulers while commencing community projects including, schools for proper monitoring and tracking of how funds were expended.
“In most situations, we only hear about the projects from people in the community. Some of these contractors execute substandard works which do not last.
“But If we are involved and co-opted in the SBMC programs, we will ensure they execute befitting buildings that will benefit us. After all, it is our community so we must ensure we get the best and also assign people to ensure its maintenance,” he said.
Umar assured that as leaders, they would continue to encourage parents to send their children to school no matter their socio-economic condition.
He said they also discouraged early marriage and hawking, especially amongst the girl child by enforcing children’s enrolment in schools.
“Though this goverment accords priority to education in the state, but more needs to be done as the demand for school enrolment is getting higher but the facilities are not enough or available to accommodate them.
“Hence, we insist that we should be notified of any ongoing projects in our community so as to safeguard it and ensure funds allocated to the projects are properly spent,” he said.
When contacted, the Permanent member, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, Shehu Sani, said government was aware of the situation of primary schools in the state and doing its best to fix them.
According to him, at the inception of this administration in 2015, we met a terrible state of decay in the education sector hence the declaration of state of emergency in the sector by the governor.
He explained that goverment was doing its best to tackle the situation but that, it had to be gradual due to financial constraints.
“Goverment commenced renovations and construction of schools across the state so as to improve the sector for the benefit of the masses.
“What is worrisome is that rainy season is approaching and the wind is destroying a lot of buildings. We are awaiting reports on when to continue work in schools.
“We therefore call on all communities to put more efforts to prevent the wind from destroying roofs of schools sited in their communities,” Sani said.
He explained that the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency had been mandated to supply water and toilet facility needs of all public schools in the state.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the Resource Center For Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) undertook a baseline survey to ascertain how UBE system was fairing with respect to its core mandate in Anchau, Kubau and Zaria LGAs of Kaduna State.
Ibrahim Zikirullah, CHRICED Director-General, said the survey was to also ascertain the level of community participation in tracking government activities to enhance accountability.
He explained that, despite the enactment of a legislation to ensure all children of school age in Nigeria acquired basic education, the UBE system continued to fail millions of such children who ideally should be benefitting from a well run public education system aimed at molding them for roles as citizens.
“The situation is worrisome because the goal UBE is expected to achieve in banishing illietracy, tackling poverty and contributing to building citizens is almost defeated,” Zikirullahi stressed.
He explained that the baseline survey was aimed at providing research based knowledge on the status of the UBE funded projects and to also uncover the usage of funds for the programme.
“The risks of corruption have to be removed because it will be a story of lost opportunity if monies meant for children’s education end up in private pockets.
“Also, for the security of the society and national development, it is imperative to understand the state of things as a prelude to tracking resources being expended on UBE projects,” he said.
Zikirullahi said the survey by CHRICED would help citizens and communities understand thier rights and responsibilities with respect to how the UBE funds are expended as the future of millions of Nigerian children depended on the UBE system.
“The UBE system is very important due to the foundational role it played in preparing citizens become responsible with skills and competences to contribute to national development,” he said.