By Joke Adeniyi
I stumbled on some disturbing pictures online uploaded by a concerned Kwara citizen, a fortnight ago. The distasteful pictures image the deplorable learning environment of some pupils in a school in Fufu, Ilorin South Local Government Area of Kwara State. The pictures numbering about six, showed a dilapidated classroom lacking basic facilities such as furniture; in fact some of the pupils sat on bare floor. The unsightly scenario depicts the pathetic conditions some children are subjected to in their quest for Education.
It is inconceivable that a government school such as that exists in the state at this time and age. In fact, this goes to undermine effort of the Quality Assurance Bureau (QAB) of the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development at sanitising the education sector, which necessitated the close down of sub-standard private schools in the state in recent time. Is it then that what is sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander? The state government should lay good example for others to follow because like the saying “he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.” Why should sub- standard government schools be in existence while those owned by private individuals are closed down for same reason. This smirks of double standard, hence the need for urgent steps to correct the anomaly by relevant authorities. The search-light should be beamed in the right direction in the interest of innocent children in the state.
Incontrovertibly, adequate learning facilities particularly at the basic level of education are essential in enhancing the quality and relevant skills needed in pupils. This cannot however be achieved where children learn in inconducive environment. As observed by experts in the education field, learning which involves the interaction of students with the environment cannot be completed without a conducive classroom, among other essentials, which promotes effective teaching and learning. The classroom, irrespective of its state, is believed to have a great impact on the performance of students.
Sadly, the situation in most public schools calls for serious concern as most government owned institutions of learning are deprived of required facilities. Poor infrastructural facilities are affecting the education quality of public schools.
Quality education, which is the basic rights of every Nigerian Child, is however not the lot of pupils who learn in deplorable environment. It is for this reason that most parents struggle to send their children to private schools, which encouraged the proliferation of illegal private schools.
One wonders what the future holds for the education system where there are schools lacking basic infrastructure because this makes both teaching and learning difficult for teachers and pupils.
The QAB has lot to do in ensuring that every child irrespective of the status of his/her school (private or public) gets quality education, which is not negotiable; it is a right. The state government should set and enforce standards regarding the size and quality of physical infrastructure a school should have,
There is no doubt that the present administration of Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed has fashioned out programmes and policies aimed at developing the education sector, but there are still areas that it needs to pay special attention such as infrastructure development in public schools.
It is common knowledge that a conducive teaching-learning environment would further enhance an excellent academic performance of students. And as such, it is pertinent for the state government to foster sound education in the state, by ensuring suitable learning environment.
The Every Child Counts Policy, an initiative of former governor Bukola Saraki, designed to put “children at the heart of education” must be sustained. The education reform programme aimed at resuscitating public education in the state, must be pursued vigorously for every Kwara child to get access to qualitative education.
The state government can take a cue from Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode’s improved infrastructural renewal in public schools to make teaching and learning environment more conducive for better academic performance. The educational policy initiative tagged ‘360 degree education’ is aimed at promoting growth of functional and qualitative education across the state. The new model ensures that public schools are fully equipped with state-of-the-art learning facilitates that will attract children to learning.