Poor school infrastructure bane of basic education in N/East– Experts
September 6, 2022 4 min read
Minister of Education Adamu Adamu
Some stakeholders in the education sector in the North-East have identified poor school infrastructure as the major bane militating against delivery of quality education at basic level in the region.
They also enumerated lack of good remuneration of teachers as factor behind poor academic performances.
The stakeholders including educationalists, parents and civil society activists spoke while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi, Damaturu, Maiduguri and Gombe.
Mr Mohammed Yunusa, an educationists in Damaturu described the state of public primary schools in the state as ‘pathetic’.
He said most of the schools, especially those in the rural areas, lack good infrastructure, teaching and instructional materials.
He said the classrooms are crowded, a situation which forced pupils to take lessons under tree shades.
“In one of the school with over 2,000 registered pupils, its condition is terrible.
“The school needs urgent intervention to upgrade existing structures and construct new ones to accommodate the population,” he said.
Malam Abdullahi Ali, a resident of Yadin-Buni in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe, said many primary schools vandalised by Boko Haram insurgents had been rehabilitated.
He, however, said the schools had not been put to use, a trend which overstretched the few functional schools in the area.
He also decried shortage of teachers in the schools due to their locations and vulnerability to security threats, adding that, “teachers decline posting to such vulnerable schools for fear of the insurgents”.
Malam Abdul-Rahman Aminu, who corroborated earlier opinion, said the problem was further compounded by lack of qualified teachers to teach in the schools.
He said teachers in such schools could not put in their best in view of the poor remuneration and working conditions.
A teacher, who pleaded anonymity, decried the poor renumeration, noting that it resulted to poor performances in the schools.
She said the salary of N27,000 for teachers was below the N30,000 national minimum wage, adding the take-home pay is demoralising to the teachers.
“The salary is meager and unattractive that cannot sustain the life of a teacher,” she said.
Furthermore; Mr Abdullahi Yelwa, a lecturer with the Department of Crime Management and Control (CMC), Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, said the remuneration of teachers at the basic level was not attractive.
According to him, poor remuneration of teachers and deplorable condition of primary schools is affecting the foundation of education in the country.
He attributed the deplorable condition of the schools to poor funding of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) by respective state governments.
“Before, primary education has been fully supported by local governments through LEAs, because the people know who to hold accountable for successes or failure of education at the grassroots.
“Presently; the local government councils are not receiving their statutory allocation in the name of State/LGA Joint Account, thereby making it impossible for them to fund education at basic level.
“The establisment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) caused more damage than the expected positive outcome in the education sector,” he said.
The lecturer advocated for the review of UBEC programme as part of measures to reinvigorate the basic education sector.
To address the problem, the state governments in the region had initiated viable infrastructure and teacher development programmes toward raising standard in the sector.
In Borno; the state government had executed 194 school infrastructure projects in the past three years.
According to official document, the projects include rehabilitation, completion and construction of new 21 mega primary, secondary and technical colleges across the 27 local government areas of the state.
It showed that 33 of the projects had been executed in Askira Uba; eight in Bama, six in Bayo, six in Biu, nine in Chibok, two in Damboa, two in Guzamala and eight in Gwoza.
Others were 12 school projects in Hawul; 25 in Jere, five in Kaga, 19 in Konduga, four in Kwaya Kusar, six in Mafa, one in Mobbar, 48 in Maiduguri, four in Monguno, four in Ngala and two in Gubio.
The government also distributed 221,000 assorted text books to the schools.
Also, Mohammed Jibrin, Chairman of the Nigeri Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, commended Gov. Babagana Zulum for approving new minimum wage for teachers.
He said the gesture would motivate the teachers, adding that good remuneration was necessary in getting qualified teachers.
“The teachers are impressed as it would improve teaching and learning process in the state.
“In Borno, the government has done well in area of infrastructure, what we need now is more qualified teachers to manage our schools,” Jibrin said.
In Gombe, the state government says it has renovated 715 basic and post basic schools, constructed 612 classrooms and 10 administrative blocks in 10 schools.
Mr Babaji Babadidi, Executive Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), reiterated government commitment towards improvement of teachers’ welfare.
He said the board was working towards the implementation of the teachers promotion, adding that the state recorded 539,831 pupils enrollment in 12,637 schools across the state.
According to him, the government has recruited qualified teachers to address shortage of manpower in the schools.
This, he said, would encouraged school enrollment and reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state.,
In the same vein; Yobe government has constructed seven mega primary and secondary schools across the major towns in the state to decongest classrooms, create enabling teaching and learning environment.
The state government also constituted a technical committee on basic and secondary education to rejuvenate the sector.