Primary school pupils in a rural village in Kuje Area Council study in harsh environment with no respite in sight.
There are only 29 desks for 230 pupils in basic one to six translating in one chair per eight pupils.
Again, most of the pupils sit on crumbled dusty floor to take their lessons due to lack of furniture.
Only the senior pupils in basic three to six have the luxury of getting a chair sit on.
Teachers in the school also use two desks and seven plastic chairs said to have been donated by members of the school’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA).
Sources at the school said lack of adequate furniture has been one of their major problems, compounded by the dilapidated nature of the classrooms.
A source said windstorm had destroyed most of the windows and doors in the school forcing the management to merge pupils in primary one, two and three with their colleagues in primary four and five whenever it was raining.
“You can see what the pupils are facing. The situation gets more worrisome whenever it rains heavily. We have to merge some classes and that is not conducive for learning,” the source who would not want to be named said.
“Since we started exams, teachers sit on window frames while supervising the class. Some teachers sit on the few available chairs while marking the pupils’ scripts,” the source added.
Despite the plight of the pupils and teachers, our reporter observed an uncompleted block of three classrooms in the school. Sources familiar with the project said the building was abandoned in 2013 at lintel level.
The source said the block of three classrooms presently occupied by pupils from primary four to six is dilapidated thereby exposing the lives of the pupils and teachers to danger. The ceiling boards have fallen off and some portions of the wall have cracked.
The source said a letter to Kuje Area Council authorities by the PTA committee members had not elicited positive response from the government yet.
“How I wish you had met the headmaster because he had also lodged a complaint about the challenges in the school to the council authorities,” the source said.
Meanwhile, parents of pupils in another public primary schools in the council, Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary School, Jigba have also complained over lack of adequate desks and chairs in the school.
The chairman of the school’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Mr Luka Musa, said the school has been facing the challenges of lack of desks and chairs for a long time, adding that pupils from primary one to three always sit on the floor while taking lessons.
He added that ceiling boards of some classrooms have fallen off and some portions of the roofs leak, a situation which, he said, has been affecting the learning condition of the school.
“And apart from the shortage of desks and chairs, some of the classrooms are leaking as some zinc sheets are bad and ceiling boards have fallen. Some windows in some blocks of classrooms have also been pulled down by wind. The head master’s office where books are kept also leaks,” he said.
He appealed to the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) to come to the aid of the school.
The PTA chairman also noted that the residents lacked potable water for their daily use, adding that they usually went to streams in distant locations to get water.
He said the residents always heaved a sigh of relief whenever it rained as almost all households used their basins and reservoirs to get water from their rooftops then.
“But during the dry season, if you are here, you will pity us because of the kind of water we drink in this community,” he lamented.
He further complained over lack of clinic at the community, saying sick people board motorcycles to neighbouring Kwaku village for treatment.
“And there is a big river that whenever it rains heavily, nobody can cross it until the water level goes down. So you can see the kind of life our people are facing in this community. No good access road, no good tap water and no clinic, while our primary school is in a dilapidated state,” he added.
He appealed to the council authorities to come to the aid of the community by providing furniture, constructing a clinic and sinking of borehole to tackle perennial water problem at the village.
The chairman of the council, Alhaji Abdullahi D. Galadima, who spoke through his special adviser on media and publicity, Haruna Usman, said the council has already directed the secretary of Local Education Authority (LEA), Mr. Bulus Danladi, to set up a committee to inspect all primary schools in rural areas.
The committee, he said, is to take records of schools that have dilapidated structures and lacked furniture so that the council will intervene.
He also said the council is in the process of making arrangement to employ teachers, who would be posted to the various rural primary schools.
“Already, the council has put in place a committee led by the supervisory councillor which went round primary schools, especially the ones in villages to take record of any school that is dilapidated or lacking furniture to see how we can intervene,” he stated.
The chairman said the council has provided hand pump boreholes across the communities of the council, and promised that the council would take note of other villages that are yet to be provided boreholes to also get theirs.