Basic education under the local, state and federal governments is said to be facing an annual budgetary shortfall of billions of Naira leading to crumbling infrastructure mostly in rural schools.
To address the problem, public agencies, corporate organizations as well as interest groups have set aside huge sums of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions for schools.
In this regard, CSR funded programmes in public schools, have over the years led to effective teaching and classroom management thereby assisting in improved education services delivery in general.
This explained why the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is said to have set a clear template to execute important programmes that could touch the lives of school pupils and the less privileged.
Pupils at Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary School, Dutse-Alhaji in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were in dire need of a conducive and secure learning environment following the collapse of the roof and walls of some blocks of classrooms in the school, exposing the lives of the pupils and teachers to grave risk and hampering learning.
BPE came to the pupils’ aid and within three months renovated a block of classrooms; built new toilets and supplied desks, books and uniforms to the school. The gesture ignited calls on other relevant government agencies to emulate the goodwill shown by the BPE.
Speaking at the commissioning of the projects undertaken by the bureau in line with its CSR at the school recently, the Director General, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, said the bureau commenced intervention at the primary level of the education sector because of its firm belief that the stage was the essential foundation for educational pursuit of children who are the future leaders.
Okoh noted that without a solid foundation at the primary school level, the future of the Nigerian child would be bleak.
“We have in this school today, future leaders some of whom would be directors general, governors and president of this country and we need to give them a congenial environment to excel,” he said.
He said the bureau’s decision to intervene in some key sectors of the Nigerian economy was a fallout of its 30th anniversary where the management resolved to identify areas of intervention to bring relief to the citizenry. These included; education, health, environment and people with disabilities.
According to the DG, the intervention at the LEA Primary School, Dutse-Alhaji included, renovation of the nursery and primary blocks, construction of a new toilet block with male and female sections of four toilets each, provision of desks for renovated nursery and primary classes, provision of school bags and excise books and school uniforms for all the pupils.
Provision of toilets in the school was meant to improve sanitation, attendance and eventually, educational outcomes.
Other areas were the provision of 20 executive office chairs for teachers, desktop computers for demonstration classes, visitors’ chairs for the headmistress, reception office; and construction of culverts, drainages, walkways as well as sand filling of water logged areas.
Speaking further on why the school was chosen ahead of others, the DG said, “We think that the areas of such intervention should not be those who already have the capacity to access such facilities. We did a scoping of primary school institutions that fit the criteria of being indigent that we could make that kind of impact on and incidentally that search threw up LEA Primary School Dutse-Alhaji.”
The headmistress, Mrs. Idowu Ajoke Adebomi, who thanked the BPE for conceiving and implementing the projects within three months, noted that the gesture by the bureau has greatly enhanced the aesthetics of the school and given the pupils a conducive environment to learn.
While pledging to secure the facilities provided by the bureau for the school, she appealed to it to do more.
“I wish to draw attention to the only ugly building left within the school premises. It is therefore not an exaggeration that a touch on that building will further add greater value to this school and make it more learning friendly. We wish to act ‘Oliver Twist’ by respectfully calling on the BPE to also help us have a look at it and grant our request.”
The DG assured that the bureau would do everything possible within available funds to ensure that other structures in the school are renovated.
“The important thing is that we want to be able to have impact on the entire school. It doesn’t look nice that a section is renovated and looks modern while another section is dilapidated. To the extent that we can access further funding, certainly, we will intervene in helping to renovate that other property,” Okoh said.
The traditional ruler of the area, Hakimi of Dutse-Alhaji, Alhaji Abubakar Bako, pledged the commitment of the community to provide security for the safety of the facilities and appealed to the BPE management to renovate the remaining building in the school which he described as an ‘eye-sore’.
“The vigilante will help us in this school in terms of security,” he said.
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