Sunday, 21 February 2016

School in Ogun state where students sit on floor for lectures

Education is one of the basic things required to have a crime-free society. Not that it totally eradicates crime, but it helps reduce the rate of criminal activities in the society.

For this reason, much attention is expected to be given to schools, institutions where formal education takes place at all times.

The same cannot be said of St. John’s Anglican Primary School II, Kuto, Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, where the students are made to study on bare, shattered floors.

Soal journalists who were in the state on assignment stumbled on this school and decided to probe further, why it had to be so in this time and generation where technology is in an advanced state.

With an average of three blocks of classrooms, each class is not expected to house more than 20-30 students, but unfortunately, many of the classrooms were vacant without any teacher dishing out instructions to learners.

As at the time of visit (towards the closing period), most of the students were seen playing carelessly in the various classrooms without any instructor.
The roofs and ceilings were nothing to write home about as they were in different states of total disaster.

Our correspondent who wanted to get to the root of matters, disguised as a parent who wanted to bring his ward for admission and was directed to meet the head teacher of the school.

On the first day of visit, she welcomed Naij.com’s journalist and explained that a list of prospective students had only been sent to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) for approval and subsequent admission but asked him (our correspondent) to return the next day for further clarification on how to go about the process.

Before then, she had explained that basic admission requirements would not cost more than N2,100 per student.

“That is because the person is a first-timer. They only pay N300 every term as levies to carry out some developmental projects in the school,” she had stated.

After thanking her for the explanation, our correspondent was asked to return the next day for further explanation on the admission process.

Early the next day, at about 9.30am, our correspondent returned to make inquiries about how and when to bring this ‘new student’ for the start of the admission process.

This time around, there was a little bit of sanity in the school compound as many of the students were in their classrooms and this gave our correspondent ample time to assess the students and teachers in their ‘normal’ states.

The head teacher took her time to explain the admission procedure this time and was explicit enough to make it obvious that it was totally a government-run institution.

“For a first-timer, the fee is N2,100. That’s because there’s building levy as well as retirement levy. I’ll be retiring next year by God’s Grace so, there’s a levy for retirement.

“Any parent who wants the child to come here has to write a letter to SUBEB, indicating that they want the child or ward in our school.

“It is from there that we get the approval to accept such a parent’s child here and the necessary payments will be made here as well,” the fair-skinned woman narrated.

Our correspondent pressed further to know if there were other payments to be made after the admission procedure had been concluded, and the head teacher informed of lesson fees. The amount was totally shocking!

She said: “They hold extra lessons here at the rate of N20 per day. They also pay N20 for feeding because they do not come with food.

“They close the lesson by 3.30pm at times. We pay the security man here N3,000 monthly, this money is gotten from the stipends that these children pay.”

Expressing his dislike for the state of facilities in the school, Naij.com’s journalist asked another staff of the school who preferred anonymity why they had yet to fix some of the anomalies in the institution because “the person who asked me to make inquiries may not like what this place looks like.”

This staff opened a can of worms on how the government had been promising year after year, that they would fix the rot in the school.

“On several occasions, the government had promised to do something about the state of our school, but all of these have ended in sheer promises.”

The head teacher who refused to say anything about whether or not government was involved in the process, said that she was planning to “do something remarkable with the building over there,” she said pointing towards a direction opposite where the reporter stood with her.

“That’s why we collect money for building from the students every term,” she added.

Another striking revelation by this woman was the fact that most of the students schooling there were ‘abandoned’ individuals who work as maids/servants in their respective homes.

She noted with disdain, that this is a reason many of them do not even pay the meagre amount of money they are required to pay per term.

“You know, most of the students here are Omo Odo (meaning servants/maids in Yoruba), that’s the reason some of these guardians abandon them here and refuse to pay their levies like others.

“We remind them everyday on the assembly ground, to bring their money, but what can one do if they refuse to do so? Although we also involve the church (St. John’s Anglican) about some of our plights, it cannot be enough because the school is totally under the government’s supervision,” the unhappy head teacher explained.

Shocking also is the fact that some students of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) hold lectures in some of the classrooms inside the compound, under similar circumstances.

With the Ogun state government working for the people, it is expected that this issue will be looked into in no distant future to forestall a jeopardy of the future of these great minds.

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