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Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2019

The deplorable state of government schools

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By Adam Naziru Ahmad

Did you come here to repair our classes? You see, we have no desks!” That was the first question that almost brought me to tears during my recent visit to the Local Education Authority (LEA) and Government Secondary School (GSS) Anguwan Rogo. Nicknamed Sha-Kura (Hausa for the dusty environment), the broken desks, the detached roofs, the depression in the floor’s surface, the scratched cemented chalkboards of the 1900s, the half-fixed windows, and doors, the unhygienic toilets, all featured a dilapidated government school.
Sha-Kura, being the only government-owned school in Anguwan Rogo, is meant to provide basic education to all the children of one of the most populous areas in Jos North-North constituency of Plateau state. Boxed within the current population reality of Anguwan Rogo, this school cannot, as a matter of fact, accommodate 20 per cent of its children. As such, more than 80 per cent of the remaining children are being deprived of their fundamental right to free basic education.
Section 2(1) of the compulsory, free universal basic education act, 2004, is clear on the responsibility of every government to provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age. It is in the light of this one might think whether the Plateau state government has failed in its responsibility to provide free basic education for children in Jos, taking Sha-Kura as a case study.
I will like to draw the attention of Ibrahim Baba Hassan, the member representing Jos North-North constituency of Plateau state, to the dilapidated state of Sha-Kura, since he has failed in his responsibility to provide proper representation, not only to the people of Anguwan Rogo, but to the people of his constituency as a whole considering the number of government-owned school in his constituency that are in dire straits.
The enormous amount of money being received annually as constituency project allowance by Baba Hassan should have been used to renovate Sha-Kura and other government-owned schools in Jos including GSS Gangare, GSS Laranto, Jos Jarawa, Saint Michael, and Chwelyap among others. The question here is: where are all these monies? Are they being siphoned as some have alleged? This is because, as an individual, I cannot point to any project in your name sir.
Also, the undiluted silence about the worrisome state of Sha-Kura by the Anguwan Rogo community and religious leaders is not only uncalled for, but also disturbing. Why the silence? Is it because you are able to secure for your wards, a better learning atmosphere in private enterprises? Why allow the children of the vulnerable ones bear the full brunt of your collective silence? This creates in me, a perception that we are not getting it right as a people. The inability to express our utmost concern to those within the corridors of power gives them the license to perform woefully knowing fully how provincial we are when it comes to knowing our rights.
There is no doubt Sha-Kura in all ramifications is a perfect metaphor for the deplorable state of government schools not only in Jos, but the whole of Nigeria. Poor and helpless students are left to learn in the hands of teachers that avoid duties, classes without their requisites, libraries without bookshelves, and toilets without water.
So unless and until we begin to voice out the issues bedeviling our communities, our silence will continue to consume us as a people. It’s time we begin to punish those that have failed us either through voting them out or recalling them back. Things need to change for the better. The government must invest in the leaders of tomorrow, if we truly want a brighter Nigeria.

Adam Naziru Ahmad is of Department of Agriculture, University of Jos.

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