Khadijah Ibrahim, a ten-year-old teenager was seen hawking in the streets of Kano instead of being in School.
Khadijah, a student of Unguwar Rimi Girls Junior Secondary School, Kumbutso Local Government of Kano state told DPH NEWS that she chose hawking over attending school because they attend school everyday without learning; teachers don’t take them any lesson throughout the week.
On a visit to Unguwar Rimi Girls Junior Secondary School, DPH NEWS met students carrying out sanitation at the school premises before they commence learning for the day.
Girls’ Junior Secondary School, Unguwar Rimi was built by the Unguwar Rimi community to promote girl-child education. Upon establishment, the community requested for teachers to be deployed to the school but the state Ministry of education posted only two teachers.
The school which has just four classrooms is the only secondary school in the rural area, covering about six villages. The classrooms are without tables and chairs, leaving students with the problem of sitting and writing on bare floor.
‘’Before the commencement of free education policy in Kano State in 2019, we were collecting seven hundred naira (₦700) which we were using to maintain the broken seats, buy chalks and other necessary materials which the school may need to enhance the school efficiency but ever since the state government implemented the free education policy, we are not allowed to collect a penny from the students to provide learning materials and fix the broken chairs in the school and the government is not providing as well,” one of the school teachers who pleaded anonymity told
According to her, after writing many letters to the state government for teaching materials, the school resorted to buying learning materials from the teachers’ purse.
“We wrote a letter to the councilor to buy us chalks, because we don’t even have chalks to write on board for the students but it was to no avail. I am the one buying chalks to teach the students from my own money.
“When the term was commencing, our principal bought note books for lesson plan, registers and pens from her own money to facilitate the commencement of the term. Despite these challenges, we are having at least ninety students in each class.”
She stated further that the school once had enough resources using the money they charge students. This stopped when the government announced free education.
“We had enough resources, even the teachers were many when we were collecting school fees. If 70 students pay ₦700, that’s ₦49,000 and with that money, we can pay the teachers even if it is ₦5,000 and they accept it but now we don’t have the money so all the voluntary teachers left,” she revealed.
Insufficient, dilapidated structures leaving students to learn in a poor environment
DPH NEWS saw many broken seats packed in one of the empty classrooms. The school has no restroom which made the principal plead with the management of a nearby primary school to allow her students use at least two restrooms which is 2000 meters away from the girls secondary school.
One of the voluntary teachers who spoke with DPH NEWS under anonymity revealed that they chose to teach voluntarily after obtaining teaching certificate in order to promote girl-child education.
‘’Most of us are voluntary teachers, taking two subjects each. We are five volunteering to teach in this school. We all graduated from Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education and acquired National certificate in education (NCE). Instead of staying at home without being employed, we deemed it worthy to volunteer for the girls junior secondary school being the only secondary school for girls in the community in order to promote girl-child education and end child marriage among the students. But despite our commitment, we are still facing the challenges of inadequate teaching materials, congested classrooms and poor environment for the students.’’
DPH NEWS observed an English teacher struggling to teach JSS 3 students despite the class being congested and students seating on the floor.
Aisha Abubakar, a 14 years old JSS 2 student spoke to DPH NEWS about their travails in the school, one of which is sitting on the floor to write which, according to her, is extremely uncomfortable.
‘’One of the greatest challenges is that we don’t have chairs to seat although I’m lucky today that I had a chair to sit on. The class size is enough for us but the problem is it’s not well ventilated. We are 73 in our class and we close by 1:00pm. Our teachers attend our classes and we are being taught civic education, home economics, math and computer but we are being taught computer on the board because we don’t have computers in school.
“We used to have chairs but they are all broken and nobody repaired it for us.
Unavailability of senior school dashing students’ hope of furthering education
Unavailability of senior classes has dashed the hope of the girls in furthering their education.
The girls’ junior secondary school is the only school made available in the community covering six villages. After graduation from the junior school, the girls have no means of furthering their education in the community due to unavailability of senior classes.
Musa Saleh, a resident of Unguwar Rimi told DPH NEWS that they have no option but to let their children become school dropouts and get them married so they won’t stay at home doing nothing.
‘’We all have passion for girl-child education, we just have no alternative when our girls pass this stage,’’ Musa revealed.
Findings revealed that the community donated a piece of land few meters away from the junior school so that senior secondary section can be built. However, lack of funding by the government has stalled the plan, despite series of letters and follow-up made by the School-Based Management Committee (SBMC).
The community also rented a building of about 1700 meters away from the school for the office of the principal, library and staff room.
Education Commissioner not aware
Speaking with the commissioner of education in the state, Sanusi Majidadi, he disclosed that he wasn’t aware of any of the travails faced by Unguwar Rimi school neither did he receive any report.
“We have more than 600 junior secondary schools across the state which is the largest number in the country. So you can’t say government will get to know everything about each school.
“Since I became the commissioner of education in Kano one year ago, I’ve not seen any documentary report on that particular school.
“They might have been writing to the ministry maybe not during my tenure but what I’m saying in essence is I’ve seen many reports from other schools and we have acted on that,” he said.
He further stated that the state government will soon commence distribution of furniture, noting that education is a collective responsibility, as such the community is expected to provide security and sustain the structure provided by government.
“With the issue of furniture, that one has been noted. The state government has already given contract for procurement of classroom furniture and very soon we’re going to distribute these classroom furniture in a grand ceremony. It will launched by his Excellency, the executive governor of Kano state.
“I want you to understand that education is a collective responsibility. State house has a responsibility, local government has a responsibility and also indeed the community has a responsibility.
“When we provide education infrastructure to a community, it is now the responsibility of government to ensure adequate funding, supervision and maintenance of that facility. However, communities are also expected to provide maximum security and at a point also, to provide intervention to sustain the structures.”
He concluded that the ministry will send its technical team to inspect the school and note its needs.
“We are going to send our technical team to inspect the place. Though I have not received any formal complaint on that but with this development, we’re going to send our technical team to inspect the school and I assure you that Kano state government is going to do something about it.
“The school has a leadership, they have a school-based management committee, the Parents, Teachers Association and the principal. They need to write jointly to the state ministry, telling us about their predicament, so that we will take a look on all the complaint and see what the government can afford to do immediately,” Majidadi concluded.