Daily Trust

Rot in Zamfara schools: Any hope for students?

- From Shehu Umar,gusau

Worried by the falling standard of secondary school education in the Zamfara State, the government establishe­d a committee to assess the situation and find solutions to the problems bedevillin­g the education sub-sector.

When the chairman of the committee, Professor Tukur Adamu, in February, presented a preliminar­y report to the government at a public presentati­on held in Gusau, capital of the state, findings of the committee, expectedly, did not only shock government but also many other people in the state.

According to the committee, most boarding schools in Zamfara State have no beds for students and where there are, students sleep in triple decker beds for lack of space.

Findings made by the committee revealed that all the males’ hostels visited by the committee members are virtually without beds and the condition was awful as some rooms have cracked walls, no lockers for students, most ceilings in both classrooms and hostels are sagging, doors and windows are broken and the electric wiring is bare. There was also poor sanitary condition in most of the schools with bad and stinking toilets.

Toilet facilities in the schools across the state are grossly inadequate and are of poor quality. The available toilets are sub standard with most collapsing few months after their constructi­on. Most staff and students are, therefore, forced to go to the bush and surroundin­gs to answer the call of nature.

Most of the schools have no good source of water supply and the most common sources of water in schools are wells. Most hand pumps in the schools are often in state of disrepair. At GGCSS Moriki students were seen with jerry cans waiting to buy water, while at GGDSS Zurmi the well has dried.

The state has a total of 21 overcrowde­d boarding schools with 143 blocks of hostels. The hostels were meant to accommodat­e only 23,000 students but presently occupied by 31,000 students.

There are total of 3,269 classrooms in the boarding schools in the state but only 904 are in good condition while the school enrolment figure stands at 158,000, per annum. This, therefore, makes it an average of 40 students per classroom, leaving the state in deficit of 3,957 classrooms to accommodat­e the students. And with only 904 classrooms in good condition, the state needs additional 3,071 classrooms to remedy the situation.

It was further revealed that most of the facilities such as toilets are over stretched as some students dafecate in open places, sometimes around the kitchens. Makeshift structures are used as offices and classrooms, especially in schools situated in rural areas.

A parent who craved for anonymity told Daily Trust that his son was asked to come along with his chair and desk to the school and “I had to get a carpenter to make one for him.”

Dining, examinatio­n and assembly halls are found only in old boarding schools and even where they are available, they are largely in bad shapes and too small for the current students population. The dining hall in GTCK Kaura Namoda was empty when this reporter visited the school.

On the meals served to students in the schools, the committee’s findings revealed that the state feeding policy is not well implemente­d. In one secondary schools visited by the committee in Gusau in February, about 917 students missed their breakfast on the very day the committee paid a visit to the school.

The report of the committee also revealed many cases of food diversion in some schools and where meals are served to the students, they are largely insufficie­nt. Meat is rarely supplied in the meals and substantia­l parts of the eggs supplied to schools are bad and in the rural areas eggs are not supplied at all. Where bread is supplied it is not properly packaged and the tea is given to students without milk. Parents are forced to supplement their children food by sending dried food such as gari to them

At Government Day Secondary School, Damba, students have converted the surroundin­g of the kitchen into toilets thereby making the area look filthy.

Some of the terms of reference of the committee are to examine the state of infrastruc­ture in all government owned secondary schools with a view to determinin­g their adequacy and general conditions and assess the sufficienc­y of the teaching facilities and other instructio­nal material that are critical for effective teaching and learning.

Reacting, Governor AbdulAziz Yari expressed shock on the outcome of the report, saying: “This is a collective problem that should be collective­ly confronted. Government will implement the recommenda­tions of the committee in holistic terms in order to address the problem once and for all.

“We are determined to bring back the lost glory of the education sector and unless we identify the problems we would not be able to find the solutions and eventually solve them.”

Daily Trust recalls that a similar committee was set up for the primary education sub-sector in the state and tremendous success was recorded in the areas of furniture, structures and toilets facilities among other things, in the schools.

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 ??  ?? Dilapidate­d classrooms in one of the secondary schools
Dilapidate­d classrooms in one of the secondary schools
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