BY V. AL-PEA
When Jang became governor of Plateau State in 2007, his government declared a state of emergency on education, stating its goal is to radically improve it. TMV looked at how his government has thus far faired, particularly in primary education.
Our first stop was the Local Education Authority (L.E.A) Primary school in Gwong, Jos north local government area, one of the head teachers, who pleaded anonymity lamented that although the state government has done well in improving the standard of education, structurally there’s still much to be done. A sweeping view of rows of derelict and dilapidated structures appeared completely out of tune with its environment . Not one single of the about nine structures had been renovated in recent times. In their age, some of the buildings had long rusted roofs partly blown off by wind while the ceilings either sagged loosely or were completely torn off. Some walls of the classrooms had collapsed and the floors were broken with numerous pot holes. Sadly, the few pupils had to sit on the floors as they were being tutored due to a lack of chairs.
At the St. Michael’s RCM primary school in Nassarawa Gwom, still within the city metropolis,
parents and guardians withdrew their children to private schools because of the very poor structural facilities.
“We are really suffering,” revealed a female head teacher confiding on condition of anonymity. “Virtually every parent has withdrawn his or her child from this school because of the poor facilities.” She wonders why the Primary Education Board, the relevant body responsible for the maintenance of schools at this level has avoided her school. Attempts to speak with staff of the Primary Education Board proved futile.
Abubakar Sani, an education consultant commends Plateau State government for trying to radically improve schools after declaring a state of emergency, but he adds that “the problem is in the selective approach towards the implementation.” Sani warns of the danger in not providing safe buildings at the primary school level, “which is the foundation of all academic pursuit”, and cites the concern of “graduating poorly educated children into the larger society [. . .] among world leading technological giants”.
While proffering solutions, Sani tasked the government and relevant bodies with taking responsibility without bias, adding that building and renovation contractors of educational materials should be supervised.