Gwargwaje Police Barrack Nursery and Primary School LGEA Zaria, Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, is one, possibly representing several others with similar sad tale of how public schools have over the years, dilapidated with little or no efforts by successful government across all tiers to restore the lost glory of this most important sector of the economy.
Investigation revealed that, the school has a total of 1,747 pupils, 16 teachers, nine supporting staff called Empowers and six dilapidating classrooms for this number of children. Ordinarily, the standard supposed to be maximum of 40 pupils per class in order to give room for learning contact between the teacher and his pupils. The pupils are sitting and leaning on bare floor while their teachers are managing to connect with them because there are gross inadequate wooden furniture. The primary 1 has four register each planned to accomodate 80 pupils.
As stated earlier, the United Nations recommended 40 pupils per classroom to enhance contact between the teacher and his or her pupils. This is called teaching methodology. With this overcrowded classrooms, the possibility of having qualitative education remains a mirage.
What this means is that, it will be difficult if not impossible for the pupils to learn in this rowdy learning condition or the teacher impacting knowledge as expected if the population size is manageable.
A credible source within the school catchment area hinted that, a government official visited the school with a letter directing him to relocate the school because the school lack the capacity to use the classrooms.
“That official came with a letter that the 20 classrooms out of 24 were to be relocated to another school within the local government and that was all we know. They said we don’t have the population.
“The question is, if we don’t have the population, why would respected international organisation like United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) came and executed their Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in this school?” the source queried.
Reacting, Director, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Kaduna State, Zachariah Narcus expressed concern over the development, promising to take it to higher authority for further investigations.
He said, “according to 2017 appropriation, there suppose to be 24 classrooms in that school. But we could see only a block of four classrooms. What I can tell the public is to be patient with us. I will report this to higher authority for further investigations.
“It was observed that the other 20 classrooms have been transfered to another school in Tudun Chikun in the same Zaria though I’m yet to go their whether the classrooms are on ground there or not.
“Based on what we heard, the 20 classrooms were relocated because the school at Gwarwaje do not have the population. But with what we saw, that was not true. This is a school you have more than 120 in a class on the average. In some classes like primary 1 and 2, we have 300 and 200 pupils choking themselves up.
“Like I said, we will investigate further. It is unlawful to relocate a project that has been appropriated by law from one location to the other. The law said, if at all there is going to be relocation, it must go through the same appropriation. We will report it to higher authority to investigate further”, he reaffirmed.
However, when contacted, Acting Director, Project and Monitoring, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education, Salihu Sanusi told Daily Sun in his office that, the agency has the right to relocate any project from one location to the other either as a result of lack of population or land to erect such project.
“When I visited the school, I saw a few pupils contrary to what we were told earlier and we thought since the population is not there, can we relocate the project to other school within the same local government since its their resources. Some schools are congested.
“It is not as if we relocate 20 out of the 24 classrooms. We relocated the entire 24 classrooms to AB Diko in Tudun Chikun. The block of four classrooms you saw on ground was relocated from another school, at Angwan Kaya in Zaria because there is a bigger intervention ongoing there. We are still going to renovate the old structure at Gwagwaje as captured in 2018 budget. Don’t forget that we are still implementing some of the 2016 budget as we speak.
“I want to tell you that, there was no political influence in what we did. It is a reality, a child of necessity. Education office wrote to us that they do not need the project in that school. They wanted it transfered. Based on the enrolment, they need it but when we saw the number of the pupils, we agreed with the letter written to us by education office that the school do not have the capacity to use 24 classrooms.
“It is important to tell you that, it is part of our work to change the scope of work or relocation. We check our data and come up with what and where to execute projects and not as if someone lobby or advocate for it. We prepare our plan, we get our allocation every year and we send our plan to Abuja for approval. In a nutshell, it is within SUBEB power to do what we did. We have also handed the four classrooms to the school”, he added.