FCT’s rural schools in disrepair
Most people living in the rural areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have less access to quality basic education, as many schools operate under poor conditions. Pupils study under dilapidated buildings with leaking roofs, detached doors and windows while teachers hardly get instructional materials.
There were allegations that teachers in village schools faced the challenges of low salaries and insufficient access to relevant professional learning opportunities.
This worsening condition subjects the pupils to untold hardship and makes knowledge acquisition a difficult task.
In instances where facilities are not too good for learning, school managements in collaboration with locals, erect makeshift classrooms from wood and roof sheets as seen in Kasada, a community in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory.
A resident, Musa Ibrahim, said since the destruction of the school buildings by rainstorm few years ago, children have been taking lessons in the makeshift tents.
Hampered by government neglect and other factors, the condition of many rural schools in the nation’s capital calls for urgent attention. While schools in Abuja city and major towns attract positive comments from visitors, the same cannot be said of many of the schools in FCT’s hinterlands.
Aside the dearth of facilities for conducive learning environment, less qualified teachers is another challenge facing many of the rural schools in the area councils as the pupils are left under the tutelage of unqualified persons.
Teachers who refused to go to rural areas mostly cited long distances, near absence of basic amenities and lack of interest by students as well as poor motivation as major problems.
Experts said the poor or nonexistence of school infrastructure and little or no provisions of other basic amenities in villages negatively impact the quality of education for rural children while poor quality education, in turn, will only continue to perpetuate longterm poverty in the hinterlands.
Although a number of schools were said to have been rehabilitated through Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there are still lots of community schools suffering from dearth of infrastructures.
In Rubokya community, Kuje Area Council, the derelict state of the school, residents said, has adverse effect on academic activities as pupils in different grades take lessons in one classroom.
Garba Haruna, the village head, said: “Since destruction of some of the school buildings by wind three years ago, all the pupils were crammed in the only classroom left.”
The village head, who expressed worry over the poor state of the school building, said the cost of raising the community’s citadel of learning to lofty heights was beyond their power.
The primary schools in Gafere, Tukuba and Gbaukuchi communities are in dire need of rehabilitation. Most of the classrooms have leaking roofs without doors, while others have been completely destroyed by wind.
A resident of Tukuba, Zakariya Shekwaye, said the primary school in the community was in a sorry state. “Its structures and other basic facilities are in a state of disrepair.” The situation, he said, “has been a source of worry to the community and the school management.”
Daily Trust visited the school recently and found out that there were four blocks of classrooms there, two of which have been destroyed. The remaining two blocks where pupils take lessons were without doors.
The primary school in Kaho da Hannu village was without furniture, leaving the pupils with no option than to sit on the bare floor during lessons. The community head, Ibrahim Chuka, said the few furniture in the school were discarded ones he brought from a primary school in neighbouring Pegi.
Gaza Dogara, a pupil in the school, said while some of his colleagues have chairs, others sit on the floor because there were insufficient furniture in the classrooms. He said: “Had it been the chief had not brought the few chairs, all the pupils would have been sitting on the floor.”
Gwagwalada Area Council is not exempted from these challenges. In Shishida, Konkole and Angwan Pada, children trek for about 30 minutes to neighboring Yelwan Zuba to get to school.
The village head of Shishida, Shuaibu Mai-Angwa, who expressed dismay over the situation, said the children have to endure the long trek to school because parents could not allow their children roam the community during school hours.
“Though the stress is overwhelming for the children, there is nothing we can do to help the situation because our children need to be educated,” a resident Musa Shishida said. He pleaded for the establishment of a primary school in the community.
Unlike Shishida, residents of Angwan Dio polled resources together to construct a block of three classrooms to relief their children of the long trek to Yelwan Zuba.
The Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) chairman of the school, Adamu Saleh, said before the class rooms were constructed, children received lessons under mango tree; a situation he said exposed the children to untold hardship due to the unfriendly weather condition.
In Dawaki Primary school, six classrooms are managed by three teachers. Officials said the growing enrolment of pupils in the school has overstretched the facility. They therefore pleaded for upgrade of the school facilities to improve accessibility and relieve crowded classrooms with extra space.
Absence of fence in Dakwa Primary School, a community under Juwa ward in Abuja Municipal Area Council, has increased the truancy rate among pupils, Daily Trust learnt.
The village head, Shuaibu Daudu Samu, who described the truancy rate as alarming, said the situation has become a source of concern to the school management, parents and the community at large.
“After break period, some of the children don’t return back to their classes. They sneak out of the school through the bush,” Samu hinted.
Schools in remote villages in Kwali also face similar ordeal. The head of Mai-Leleyi Bassa village Muhammad A. Sanusi said children in the community don’t attend classes whenever it rains.
Sanusi disclosed that the moment it starts raining, the children would not stay in classrooms due to leaking roofs. Teachers ask them to go home until the rain stops before they go back.
“The instructional materials are insufficient. Teachers are few. The structure is dilapidated with the roofs of some classes leaking,” he said, adding that the entire structure needs total renovation.
When contacted the FCT Permanent Secretary Mr. John Chukwu said government was employing more qualified teachers especially in the rural areas and will empower school management to carry out teaching and learning assessments regularly.
He said good value school infrastructure were being provided in addition to teaching aids across the territory, adding that more schools and classrooms were built “where the enrollment figure increased.”
Mr. Chuckwu said one additional science secondary school will be established in the rural areas to meet the need of populace.
Classroom roof blown off by wind in Yaupe Primary School, Bwari
Falling classroom ceiling at Gafere Primary School, Kuje.