In Tukulma Community of Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State, schooling ends at junior secondary level except for children with parents who can afford to send them outside the town to continue their education. Hence, many children turn ‘dropouts.’
The community, WikkiTimes learnt, houses about 20,000 residents. “We have no choice but to transport our children outside Tukulma to go and continue studies,” a parent who pleaded anonymity told WikkiTimes. “But many of us cannot even afford it.”
When WikkiTimes visited the school, the dilapidated building was dotted with spirogyra that had defaced the walls.
According to one of the dropouts in the community, Adamu Babaji, a windstorm recently blew off the roof of classes at the school.
The hint of nostalgia in his voice was not lost. The boy, now a commercial cyclist, expressed his dire passion for schooling. But he is helpless, his parents could not afford to send him to school outside the community, nor could his meagre earnings.
“I make little profit of not more than N300 daily and I have to contribute it to feed my parents and siblings,” Babaji told WikkiTimes.
His classmate, Yahaya Yayaji shared similar plights. Only 10 out of his 48 classmates could afford school transfer.
“I don’t have any plans. I am waiting for Allah’s miracle,” he mumbled.
When asked of his ambition, Yahaya said he wished to join the military after school.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
While the boys in Tukulma are compelled to venture into small-scale businesses, the girls are married off.
The district head of the community, Alhaji Muhammad also decried the setback, saying his people cannot afford to send their wards to school elsewhere.
“This is one of the major problems we are facing in this town and we are appealing to the government to do the needful because education is a prerequisite for every society,” the monarch said.
Mallam Bashir Majidadi, a farmer and father of 10 lamented the cost of education outside Tukulma.
“I cater for four of my children presently in boarding schools. I spend not less than N15,000 per child every term,” he revealed. “Imagine spending that and still having to feed the rest of your family from my meagre earnings and I am just a farmer.”
At press time, WikkiTimes an enquiry sent to the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board had not been responded to.