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Tuesday, November 21, 2023

SPECIAL REPORT: In This Niger School, Oddity Prevails

Learning conditions in Gwadan Gwari Primary School are being impeded by countless odds striking both teachers and pupils.

Situated in Shiroro local government area of Niger State, primary five and six pupils are merged in a dilapidated and overcrowded classroom to receive lessons.

SPECIAL REPORT: In This Niger School, Oddity Prevails 1
Pupils receiving lesson in a dilapidated classroom. Photo credit: Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga

The school, established in 1976, houses five blocks of classrooms with a population of over 200 pupils and a staff of 10 class teachers. There are not enough desks and chairs for learning, just as there are no libraries and provisions for recreational and extracurricular activities.

READ: PHOTOS: Inside Rotten Niger School Where Pupils Sit On Bare Floor To Receive Lessons

Sanitary conditions in the school are poor, exposing pupils to potential health issues. While the teachers have exclusive use of the school’s pit latrine, pupils engage in open defecation in the bush around the school premises.

SPECIAL REPORT: In This Niger School, Oddity Prevails 2
Dilapidated classroom blocks at Gwadan Gwari School. Photo credit: Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga

Pupils of primary one and two are crammed into an overcrowded classroom, with no doors, ceilings or windows — a similar feature of other blocks of classrooms at the school.

Sani Barde, Head Teacher at Gwadan Gwari Primary School, lamented the sordid state of facilities at the institution.

“There are not enough classrooms to accommodate students or even chairs. In terms of teachers, we have enough of them. I think we don’t have a problem with that,” he said.

Since its 46 years of existence, the school has only been renovated in 2019, according to Barde,  adding the state government repaired the dilapidated roofs of two blocks of classrooms and plastered the walls.

Barde, who revealed that some of the failing classroom blocks in the school were built through community efforts, urged the state and local governments to come to the aid of the school by renovating the dilapidated structures as well as providing additional classrooms and other social amenities.

READ: ‘One Teacher, Three Goats’ — Local Dialect Coach Narrates What He Saw At Niger PHC, Primary School

One of the teachers, Cecilia Adamu, decried the absence of first aid kits at the school. With it, she could have helped rescue some emergency situations. She urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, provide one for the school so that pupils’ health will be taken care of without seeking medical help outside.   

‘Niger State Government Whole School Renovation Approach Scheme’

In 2017, Niger State government announced the commencement of a scheme tagged ‘Niger state government Whole School Renovation Approach,’ targeting the renovation and re-equipping of 200 elementary schools within the state with required manpower and infrastructural development for desired results. 

According to Jide Orintunsin, former media aide to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, the scheme has rehabilitated seven critical primary schools across the three geopolitical zones in the state.

Orintunsin,  added that the government had “supplied 22,738 teachers’ and pupils’ chairs, tables and renovated blocks of classrooms, offices, stores and toilets in 88 primary and junior secondary schools in eight local government areas of Niger South Senatorial District. 

In addition, 82 similar schools had been built and rehabilitated in nine councils of Niger East Senatorial District; while 81 had been built and rehabilitated in Niger North Senatorial Zone”.

Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) Reacts 

The Niger State Government said it has invested largely in basic education in the state through the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB). Public Relations Officer of NSUBEB, Idris Kolo, said the current issues were as a result of a long history of decay in the education sector from previous administrations. 

READ: SPECIAL REPORT: Inside Niger Community Where Nothing Works

“I can assure you the state government, through NSUEB has injected hugely into the provision of basic needs in our basic schools since the beginning of this administration to date. Thus, the sizable gap in demand is caused by the long-time decay that this government inherited and it is doing everything possible to address it,” he said.


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