...as teachers complain of sagging morale
The situation in LEA 2 Primary School was much better than quite a few schools located in Kachia local government area. A good number of the schools visited in the Kachia area were running with their buildings either partially or critically damaged, posing serious danger to pupils.
The UBE Primary School in Unguwar Shekarau, Kachia town, had a total of four temporary classrooms made of sun dried mud bricks by the community. The school runs six classes out of which two classes conduct lessons in open spaces. There were apparently no plaster works on both the interior and exterior parts of the walls and the floors were not cemented. The pupils sit on bare floors while in few classes; wood planks were arranged for the pupils to sit on. The classes were small and have no provision for windows; they do not meet the building requirement of habitable rooms.
The school headmistress Mrs. Aishatu G. Mohammed said there were 178 pupils in the school with class 1 having the lion’s share of 98 pupils. Class 6 pupils usually take lessons outside and they have to join another class and cram together when the weather gets hot or when it rains, she said.
Though teachers have been viewed as central to both the problems of education and their solutions, most of the teachers in rural communities of the state were either badly paid or experience preventable delays in the payment of salaries. State and the local governments faced the challenge of motivating teachers to high levels of performance.
Mrs. Mohammed said the government recently conducted a biometric verification exercise for all its employees with the aim of detecting phony workers but since the conclusion of the exercise, many teachers have not received their salaries without any explanations from the government. “I haven’t received my salaries for three months now and I have never been late to work. I and other teachers facing similar problems went to the education authority office in Kachia where we tabled our complaints and we were told to go to the head office in Kaduna. In Kaduna, we were asked to come back to Kachia with our complaints and we did, yet we have not received our salaries.
“I come to work every day to ensure that I give my best to the pupils. I have children like any other parent and I want to cater for them too. I am tired of the empty promises by the authorities. In fact, last week when I received an SMS on my mobile phone at midnight from the authorities, I thought my salaries were paid only to see that it was an instruction asking us not to hold morning assemblies. I told the parents and the community leaders that if by the end of the month I did not receive my salaries, I will simply stop work.”
The state education commissioner, Dr. Shehu Usman Adamu recently unveiled the screening exercise of contractors who applied to provide furniture, books and other teaching materials in schools.
The government had promised to address issues on schools equipment deficiencies.
Classrooms at UBE Primary School in Unguwar Shekarau, Kachia
Chalk-board inside the classroom