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Teachers, parents beg Makinde to address infrastructural decay in public primary schools

Stakeholders in the education sector have called on Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo to take urgent steps to save public primary schools across the state from infrastructural decay and its dire consequences.

Parents, teachers, and other stakeholders made the call in separate interviews in Ibadan on Sunday.

A survey revealed that most public primary schools conduct teaching and learning activities under dilapidated structures. Schools are largely without perimeter fences, thus making them hideouts for miscreants in their respective neighbourhoods and easy routes for passersby.

Most of the schools visited also have their staff in ramshackle administrative offices.

A parent, Faridat Adekunle, who resides close to one of the schools visited, urged the state government not to assume that pupils were safe in state primary schools.

She noted that after school hours, hoodlums would come around to use the school as their hideout.

Also, a teacher who chose to be anonymous said that this particular school lacked good and functional sanitary facilities; hence, the ‘bush’ serves that purpose for the pupils.

Similarly, a community leader in the Olunde area of Ibadan, Adegbola Farinto, said a lack of good fences and security guards had made it easy for thieves to repeatedly vandalise school property.

Mr Farinto urged landlords and other community associations hosting public schools to join hands with the state government to ensure the safety of school property.

The story is similar at St. David’s Anglican School, Abidiodan, in Lagelu Local Government Area, with patched cemented floors in dilapidated classrooms.

The effect of long years of neglect on the school was evident, as the roofs of most of the classroom blocks had been blown away by the wind, with the ceilings already crumbling.

 The headmistress of Methodist Primary School II, Aresa Oke-Ado, Bukola Olasupo, said her school was once a domain for nefarious activities.

 “Over there are buildings that are dilapidated and abandoned. However, things are looking better now because some old students rose to the occasion to refurbish the school.

 “We now have toilets, courtesy of the old students,” she said.

 Ms Olasupo said the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had done well by providing three blocks of classrooms, which, she explained, were refurbished by old students.

At St. Stephen’s Primary School, Salvation Army, Ibadan, the classes get flooded each time it rains due to old and weak structures.

“The whole building needs to be overhauled and improved upon. We are just managing for teaching and learning activities to take place,” said an anonymous teacher.

 The headmaster of Community Primary School, Atiba, Oyo town, Kunle Adedeji, said his school only had buildings as its infrastructure.

 Mr Adedeji, also the state chairman, Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON), said the school lacked apparatus and teaching aids.

 “Teachers provide themselves with all the teaching materials they need, unlike before when the government used to provide chalks, whiteboards, markers, long rulers, dusters, and other items for the teachers.

“We lack all these items now, leaving us to improvise,” Adedeji said.

 Meanwhile, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Raji Oladimeji, said the situation was not as bad as claimed.

 According to him, the state government is partnering with the federal government, through SUBEB, to provide infrastructure at many of the schools.

“The situation is not as bad as people think because we have lots of interventions like the ones from SUBEB through the UBEC project; the World Bank and BESDA also have their projects,” Mr Oladimeji said.

He said the state government had been providing interventions and other instructional books and materials.

Meanwhile, a senior officer in SUBEB, Raimi Ayodeji, claimed that many of the structures had been renovated, in addition to providing desks and chairs.

He said it would soon be the turn of schools yet to be renovated, assuring that all public primary schools in the state would be fenced. 

(NAN)

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