INVESTIGATION: Basic Education Suffer in Bauchi Rural Areas Amid Teachers Absenteeism , Govt Neglect

Lopsided and politically influenced teacher distribution and posting in favour of urban schools, absenteeism and abscondment from duty posts by teachers and dilapidated infrastructure have crashed basic education in rural Bauchi schools and eroded parents’ confidence in the sub-sector across the State.

An investigation by WikkiTimes revealed that pupils’ attendance in public rural schools has dropped by about 70% especially during the rainy season, as parents rather send their kids to farms than schools to which they attach little or no value anymore.

WikkiTimes’ investigation also uncovered how teachers deliberately abscond their duty posts with some even living outside the state and still collecting monthly salaries, in the eyes of helpless headteachers and education secretaries, because of the formers’ connection with leaders in the education sector higher-ups.  

Approximately 12 years old, Muhd Taude and Saude Shehu, return from their parent’s farm at about noon on a certain Tuesday-a daily routine they have been doing despite being pupils in their village primary school, Malumawa in Misau local government area of Bauchi State.

Both kids who could neither recite English alphabets from A to Z nor write 1 to 10 in figures have stopped attending school on the premise that their teachers no longer come daily.

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Upon arriving at their school premises, the classes were under lock and key, at a time when Muh’d and Saude should be undergoing revision ahead of the third term examination about to commence in a few weeks.

Like many parents in the village, Saude’s father Malam Shehu Usman, has had his hope of educating his kids dashed by the inability of the only primary school in the area to train the children for secondary education and even beyond.

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According to him, since they as parents didn’t attend any formal educational institution, “it is our desire to see that our children do not suffer the same fate”.

Shehu who has four other children attending the school said he sees no progress in their learning.

“A child will be attending school for over two years but didn’t learn anything. They only go to the school, play and come back as the teachers seldom report to duty”.

It is not only Shehu who is pained by this situation, Abdulhamid Malumawa who also shared how bad he felt seeing their children growing up without sound modern education claimed that the only three teachers in Malumawa primary school only come at will and close at will.

“My children have been attending the school but most of the time they will say no any teacher attended to them. Honestly, they are not understanding anything, if a child is learning something even if you didn’t ask him, you will hear him doing it but our wards are doing nothing”, Abdulhamid said.

Malumawa Primary School Pupil handwriting

The teacher distribution imbalance affects not only Malumawa village but also other local communities around Misau LGA. For instance, Jarmari Primary School also has the same issue with only 3 teachers for 700 pupils accommodated in 1 leaking classroom. Some pupils in lower primary classes interviewed by WikkiTimes couldn’t recall their grades, as all primary 1-6 pupils are jampacked in the only available class, attended to by one of the only 3 teachers the school has.

Combined classes in Jarmari Primary School Misau

Only a handful of the pupils now attend classes as the majority have dropped out due to lack of class accommodation.

Just 4 kilometres from local government headquarters, Jarmari Primary School’s 3 other blocks of two classrooms each are in bad shape for 3 years-unfit for learning.

Inuwa Wakili, one of the primary six pupils of Jarmari who read from one to ten couldn’t reach twenty despite being one of the best brains in his class.

Maikudi Abdu, a father of seven observed with dismay that their children could neither read nor write, but only sing songs.

“The only teacher we see often is Malam Sambo, who comes from Misau but due to fuel subsidy removal, he treks and arrives late, sometimes around eleven o’clock.”

The upper basic at Jarmari which shares the same building with the primary school is also dead.


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Due to a shortage of teachers and the high number of pupils in the school, a clerk was posted to Jarmari JSS to take over class in the primary, which he said was to augment the shortage of manpower being experienced.

Ali Amadu told WikkiTimes that seeing the number of pupils the school has and the corresponding number of teachers, there is a need for him to render a helping hand since the upper basic is not functional.

Amadu Zangoma, Wakilin Jarmari said unlike what was obtainable in the past, educational standards in Jarmari have been falling due to inadequate teachers and deplorable teaching and learning atmosphere.

“The I don’t care attitude shown to the sector is causing setbacks. Due to politics, they didn’t care about the teachers and they were not properly supervised.

Amadu Zangoma, Wakilin Jarmari

During WikkiTime’s visit to the school, the only teacher Malam Sani M. lamented that the school has 735 pupils with only 1 functional class and therefore had to combine the pupils and adopt a multi-grade teaching method to impart knowledge to them.

Sani claimed that their situation is even better compared to other schools in the area as most of them don’t open daily, citing Abbayayawo Primary School which he said remained locked for many days. “If you go to other schools, you will find no one there, I came through Abba Yayawo around ten o’clock but there is no one, even the pupils none of them is around. So in our case here we are lucky, in some schools, the teacher will just sit down wait for hours and leave. That is how the system is, in most rural areas, only two or three teachers are being posted to them”, added Sani.

The teacher who said posting of teachers is mostly based on favouritism said there is the influence of who you know in the education authority.

The only available class in Jarmari Primary School

Abba Yayawo village is not as lucky to have even a single teacher coming daily into Jarmari village although the area is just a few kilometres away (not more than 5) from the main town and also by the side of ever busy Kano-Kari road, the teachers seldom come so as their pupils.

Jauro Amada a peasant farmer near the school told WikkiTimes that teachers do not frequently attend the school and that pupils only play by the compound and go back home.

He said teachers coming is just once in a blue moon and this makes the pupils also do the same.

“Even if the teachers come they only teach them folktales. It is supposed that if a child returns home and you ask him what he has learned he should be able to tell you something but they are not, and this makes us sad”. My child couldn’t even read ABCD and that is our problem, let them be doing the needful”.

He blamed teacher’s inability to discharge their duties as a factor that led to the dwindling fortune of their wards, saying many parents are taking their children to private schools within Misau town.

Abba Yayawo Primary School under lock and key during WikkiTimes’ visit

In Katagum LGA, volunteer teachers take over semi-urban schools

Central Science Primary School Chinade is one of the oldest primary schools in Katagum LGA, but despite having decade long history, it is constrained by a lack of teachers as volunteers manned the classes to salvage the situation.

 In a chat with WikkiTimes, Malam Nazifi Alhassan, a volunteer teacher in the school said he started volunteering in 2015 when he finished his teaching practice as a way to pay back to society. He, however, said despite being the oldest school in the area, the school has been witnessing massive dropout of pupils these days due to lack of teachers.

“Our major challenge now is the continued decrease in the number of pupils in the school. Day by day pupils are decreasing due to the absence of teachers. The school has not have enough teachers to cater for the number of pupils despite the efforts of volunteer teachers. The school has only 7 teachers, 4 of us are active volunteers”.

Corroborating Nazifi, the school’s Headmaster, Umar Ahmad said the shortage of staff is a major setback, saying if not for volunteers, only God knows what would have happened.

Apart from the death of teachers, the headmaster also lamented that he used part of his salary to buy chalk, pay volunteers and repair desks.

During WikkiTimes’ visit to the school, pupils of primary four and five were seeing merged with primary five attending mathematics lessons while some lower primary classes were left without any teacher with only prefects controlling the classes.

At Dagaro village, the school also has only three teachers and a headmaster.

Like Jarmari in Misau LGA, Dagaro Upper Basic School which has only two teachers is dead due to student dropout occasioned by lack of teachers and ineffective supervision of the few ones.

Sulaiman Musa Dagaro, who has a child in the primary section of the school confirmed to our reporter that their kids don’t regularly attend the school due to teacher absenteeism-that leaves the school under lock and key very often.

“We are helpless and thus our dreams of giving sound education to our children have been dashed, says Sulaiman.

Like in Chinade, Dagaro village headmaster said they have complained severally about the attitude of some of the teachers in the school but the government is not responding to their plea.

Ahmed Umar Abdullahi, the Wakilin Sarkin Dagaro said the village is blessed with a primary school and an upper basic school located in the same building but lamented that the pupils and the students are not attending the schools.

In our upper basic for instance there was a teacher who only came three times in a term and an inspector came, and wrote down the report but nothing changed”.

The Village Head said they have complained several times and even a delegation from the village went to the LEA on the need to have teachers but lamented that no action was taken and in most instances, teachers transferred to Villages to find their way into the office to quash the transfer.

Children playing in Duhuwar Kura Primary School, Katagum

Similarly, Duhuwar Kura Primary School located along Gadau Road in Katagum Local Education Authority shares the burden of teacher distribution imbalance as only three teachers manned the school.

Sale M Ya’u is the only volunteer teacher in the area who out of sympathy for his village took the task of volunteering to save the situation.

According to him in a day only twenty or fewer students attend the school, saying the situation was compounded by a lack of supervision from the government and its failure to encourage enrollment in schools.

Sale said these days it is difficult to see supervisors from the ministry or local education authority coming to supervise the school. Even where they come, no action is taken against any teacher found wanting.

“The Headmasters can only advise teachers that are not reporting to duty because even if they reported them to the office, it is some people in the office that will tell the affected teacher that your principal has reported you and the case ends there”.

On his part, the Village Head of Duhuwar Kura, Alhaji Abdulsalam Halilu said “Before we used to have over eleven teachers in the school but now is not the same. What is hurting me is that the children are not attending the school”.

Faulty borehole that supplies water to Duhuwar Kura Primary School

In Ningi LGA, Some Teachers Only Report to Duty Posts During Screenings

Siri village is just ten kilometres away from Ningi LGA Headquarters but in their primary school, only four out of the nine teachers often report to duty. The teacher shortage made it impossible to have a single pupil that will transit to upper basic (from primary 6 to JSS 1) during the just concluded 2022/2023 academic session, as all the primary 6 pupils in the school have dropped out.

When WiikiTimes visited the school on a fateful working day at about 9:30, not a single pupil was found, but the headmaster Umar Babaji who just returned from his farm located near the school.  He attributed the teacher’s absenteeism to Godfatherism and the economic hardship.

He mentioned the case of Sulaiman Ibrahim and Kabiru Abubakar who reported to duty only twice and once respectively throughout the just concluded third term of the 2022/2023 session 

“ There is also the case of Sakina Yakubu a class teacher here but based in Azare as a housewife. Each time there is any verification, I only receive directives from my superior to clear her. I forwarded several complaints on them to my supervisor but nothing has been done”, he said.

A member of the Siri community Auwal Muhammad Usman, claimed that they do send their children to school but unfortunately, teachers don’t come for their primary assignment.

Primary Six pupil handwriting from Zidanga Primary School Ningi

Siri Community leader Usman Abdullahi said he visited the school severally in the past and found no teacher during working hours.

“ I laid this complaint to the headmaster and the Local Education Authority through the School Based Management Committee (SBMC) but no fruitful result yet”.

Gardo Primary School with over 400 pupils also suffer the same fate of teacher absenteeism and uneven distribution.

Located at Tashar Barau 5 Kilometers away from Ningi town, Gardo Primary School has 9 teachers, but only 3 were in attendance during WikkiTime’s visit.

One of the teachers interviewed on condition of anonymity, said some of the teachers are not coming to work because of their political Godfathers and connections with the superior officers.

“If the headmaster of the school or supervisor takes action against them they may be transferred to hard-to-reach villages. This negative involvement of politicians worsens the system because many transfers are not on merit but rather than on revenge.”

While answering questions at her residence in Tashar Barau, the headmistress of the school Halima Ibrahim Ya’u, said she was not at the school due to some reasons and wondered why the remaining 6 out of the 9 teachers were not present.

When asked why the pupils were all absent despite being exam period, the Headmistress said they normally absent themselves from school especially during the rainy season, adding that suspending the Children Home Grown Feeding Program also contributed.

Halima also mentioned a female teacher currently married in Kano and not reporting to duty despite several written complaints against her.

In Zidanga Primary School which is lucky to have 18 teachers, only a few are reporting to duty daily, despite having over 90% attendance from pupils.

This WikkiTimes observed relatively good attendance compared to other schools visited.

 Speaking on why some of the teachers are absent, the headmaster of the school Bilyaminu Saleh blamed the current socio-economic hardship.

In contrast to what the headmaster asserted, Malam Abdullahi a resident of Zidanga expressed dismay over the absenteeism attitude of some teachers.

“It is difficult to see five teachers present during the working days. How can our kids acquire standard basic education under this condition.”

To test the pupils’ ability in reading and writing, this reporter conducted verbal and writing assessments on primary six pupils of the school and only 3 out of 9 wrote 1 to 10 in figure and A to Z correctly.

Central Primary School Ningi is the largest Primary school within Ningi town with over 3,000 students and 44 teachers.

Laraba Usman, the Headmistress of Ningi Central Primary School who spoke to this medium said they were writing the third term examination which is why some teachers were not present.

She, however, reported the case of one Jamila Adamu a teacher at the school who didn’t report to school for a long time and is receiving her monthly salaries.

This reporter also assessed the performance of some primary six pupils through written tests.   Out of 19 pupils, only 4 failed to write A-Z  and 1-10 correctly.

Primary Six pupil handwriting from Central Primary School Ningi

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Bauchi SUBEB acknowledged Teachers Posting imbalances and said plans are underway to bridge the gap

Responding to the issues discovered across the visited schools, the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) acknowledged the teacher distribution imbalance against the rural schools but said plans are underway to correct it.

Muhammed Abdullahi, the board’s Information Officer told WikkiTimes in a telephone interview that Bauchi State Governor has approved to recruit teachers whom the board will post to rural communities to address the problem.

“Already the Governor has approved the recruitment of teachers to bridge that gap. Apart from that there is also the federal teacher’s scheme”, he said.

On measures taken to address issues of absenteeism amongst teachers, especially in rural communities, the Information Officer said that as schools resumed activities for this session, the board has instructed education secretaries to be extra careful and check the activities of teachers under their domains.

“A team from SUBEB is going round all the schools. The team has been divided into three senatorial zones and each local government has a team and anyone found wanting without any tangible reason will be punished”.

He said with the inauguration of the State Steering Committee on Education under the chairmanship of the Emir of Bauchi, it will no longer be business as usual, as efforts are on to revive the lost glory of education in the state.

On claims that some teachers are being favoured in the areas of posting as some with connections or have their God-fathers, he said they are now taking measures to checkmate it with the formation of the education steering Committee of the state.


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