Stakeholders in the education sector have lamented critical conditions and state of infrastructure in schools across the North-West geopolitical zone.
Speaking to journalists in Kaduna, Kano, Birnin Kebbi, Sokoto and Katsina, states shortly after resuming school activities this month, they acknowledged that resources were scarce but called for concerted efforts.
Haruna Danjuma, president of the National Parents/ Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), said that over 60 per cent of infrastructure in public schools was dilapidated.
“Most public schools do not have adequate infrastructure, with most of the pupils and students sitting on bare floor, stones or mats, due to dearth of furniture,” said Mr Danjuma, who is also the chairman of the Parents/Teachers Association in Kaduna state.
Similarly, Idris Dahiru, the state chairman of the Kaduna State School-Based Management Committee (SBMC), said that the deplorable state of infrastructure in public schools was one of the reasons for the increase in out-of-school children in the state.
“In fact, some of the schools have no roof or windows, which can be very terrible during the rainy season, thereby forcing students to rather stay at home,” he said.
Tijjani Aliyu, Citizens Co-chair, Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), described the level of dilapidated infrastructure in public schools as “pathetic”.
Yusuf Goje of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development in Kaduna equally appealed to the government to address the infrastructure deficit in public schools.
“This is worsened by the fact that the school does not have functional toilets and water facilities,” Mr Goje said.
Jane Obiora, Citizens Co-Chair, Open Government Partnership Technical Working Group on improving service delivery in health and education, also called for public support.
On her part, Aishatu Mohammed, deputy director, Female Education, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, said that the government was doing all it could to improve infrastructure in public schools.
In Kebbi, Suleiman Khalid, Chairman, Kebbi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), says the state government had spent over N4.5 billion on the construction and renovation of classrooms in primary schools across the state.
Some teachers in Kebbi expressed satisfaction with the state of infrastructure in their schools and urged the government to sustain the tempo.
Bello Haruna, a teacher at Atiku Bagudu Primary School in Birnin Kebbi, said they were pleased that the government increased the number of classrooms in the school.
Muhammad Abdullahi, also a teacher at Bayan Kara Primary School, Birnin Kebbi, also appreciated the efforts of the state government, recalling that before now, pupils had to share desks and chairs, while others had to manage on the floor.
However, in Kano, some parents appealed to the state government to address the shortage of infrastructure in public schools, saying that pupils in some schools still sat on the floor to receive lessons.
Umar Abdullahi, a resident of Kurawa Quarters in the Kano metropolis, explained that parents were ready to support the government.
Another resident, Munkaila Abdulkadir, said that many schools were often forced to close for the day during the rainy season whenever rain was falling.
Some students of a public school in the Tarauni area of Kano, who spoke to journalists, also appealed for upgrading.
“Our classrooms have potholes; some chairs are broken and we need more chairs and equipment in science laboratories,” said one of them, Ummi Nuhu.
Another student, Sani Isa, said that the state of infrastructure in his school was worrisome.
Another student, Sadiya Sani, from Wuro Bugga Primary and Secondary school in the Dawakin Tofa area, said her class needed good windows.
“Whenever it rains, we do not go to school; this means the frequency of downpour determines the completion or otherwise of our syllabus, not the way it is arranged,” she said.
The chairman of Sokoto State Universal Primary Education Board (SUBEB), Kajiji, said the state government was embarking on the rehabilitation and construction of classrooms in schools.
Also, the acting permanent secretary in Sokoto state Ministry for Basic and Secondary Education, Kabiru Umar-Imam, said the rapid increase in the population of pupils and students in schools, vis-à-vis scarce resources, had been posing a severe threat.
Checks at Sultan Bello, Sultan Atiku, Sultan Attahiru, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, Gagi, Arkilla, A A Raji Special school and other secondary schools within Sokoto metropolis revealed that classes were grossly inadequate for students.
Students sat on the floor and windows during lesson periods, while laboratories, sports facilities and workshops were not functional.
Congestion was also noticed at Badon Rafi Model, Yakubu Mu’azu, Gagi and Arkilla Primary Schools, while similar schools in Kware, Gwadabawa and Shuni Local Government Areas were in dilapidated condition.