By Zainab Yetunde Adam
As the world celebrates Children’s Day today, pupils across government schools in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, have made a case for better learning enablement in their schools.
The pupils appealed to the state government to provide more teachers, better instructional materials, as well as water and hygiene facilities in their schools.
The Humanitarian Times reporter conducted a random Vox pop with pupils around Maiduguri who aired their views about what they expect in an ideal learning environment.
A female student from Gomari 1 Primary School, highlighted the need for more teachers and frequent training of their teachers for the attainment of quality and productive education.
“If we have more teachers, once a teacher finishes his/her topic for the day, another one will enter our class for us to be sound in education. But sometimes our lesson periods go wasted because we don’t have the subject teacher.”
Musa, a JSS-3 student from Maimusari Government Day Secondary School, also decried the lack of teachers and potable water in their schools among other facilities.
“The manually-pumper borehole in my school is not supplying sufficient drinking water. We need more toilets, chairs and ventilating equipment in our classes.”
“We suffer a lot each time the only manual borehole in my school breaks down,” Safiya a student from Old Maiduguri Primary School complained.
She said most of the pupils had to deal with the inconveniences of bringing their drinking water in small water bottles or buying sachet water at the rate of N10 as a measure they adopt in navigating the water scarcity in their school.
“But not all the students can afford to buy pure water at the rate of N10 each in an hourly interval considering the hot temperature in Maiduguri,” she said.
Unlike the previous voices, Abba a teenage pupil of Old Maiduguri Primary School said though the shortage of water in his school was a challenge, they are still comfortable with the learning system even as he said more needs to be done to make their learning environment more conducive and secure.
“Strangers used to invade the school to defecate and smoke in some of our classes because most of our doors are broken down,”.
To Mustapha, the major impediment to his education is the “lack of free books and reading materials for pupils who cannot afford any.”
Neither lack of water nor inadequate learning materials constitute the problems challenging Zannah’s quest to learn.
According to Zannah the social behaviours of some of the pupils have been a thing of concern to him.
“We’ve been warned against vandalising equipment and indecent behaviour at school but still some pupils misbehave in school and some even behave violently”.
All the pupils charged their fellow students to be obedient, respectful, responsible, punctual and to live in peace with one another.
Mixed Reactions From Authorities
Responding to the complaints laid down by pupils from Old Maiduguri Primary School, the Head Teacher of the School, Idris Jere said that Education is everybody’s business that requires synergy between the teachers and the community at large.
Mr Jere added that the shortage of teachers is not only peculiar to his school alone but many schools are affected due to the verification exercise carried out.
“The issue of inadequate water has been reported to the Commissioner of Education and the Borno state Rural Water Supply Agency to construct an additional borehole about two months ago.”
He however appealed to the Government and other authorities to recruit more teachers and repair worn-out equipment for effective learning.
Meanwhile, The SUBEB Director, School Services, Ali Bukar Dogo and the Health Manager of UNICEF, Dr Clement Adams in a radio programme aired on Al-Ansar Radio and Television Maiduguri on 27th May 2022 at 10:00 AM said support systems are being put in place in education and health sectors to provide safety and security for pupils, teachers and the society at large in Borno among other states.