Universal Reporters Correspondents’ in Nasarawa state, Rabiu Omaku in this special report x-rayed the success and challenges of the free Secondary and Primary education in the state, our reporter also accorded impetus to the pace of development of education at secondary and primary level.
The declaration of free Secondary and Primary education by the governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state during the presentation of 2014 budget was resisted at the chamber of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly by the former Speaker, Honorable Ahmed Musa Mohammed.
It would be recalled that the speaker cautioned governor Al-Makura on the free education policy, advising him not to make a political statement, the policy statement has been over taken by events as students at secondary schools and pupils in primary schools are foist to pay money for Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA),the state government in 2014 introduced a PTA of N2,290 while some principals with critical hiccups collected above N3,000, despite warning by the state government situation remains unchanged.
The nagging questions are what conditions of our schools and classrooms have more enrollments of students and pupils are expected with the declaration of free education.
If there are progressive increases in schools enrollment, what happens to the number of teachers?
How many schools are in good shape?
How many schools have adequate furniture?
What happens to public schools destroyed during the 2012 flood disaster, how many were renovated out of the N400million relief package accrued to Nasarawa state by the Federal government?.
Another ardent question is how feasible is the free education in Nasarawa state as onlookers averred that free education only sees the light of the day when every aspect of education ranging from provision of uniforms to students and pupils and other responsibilities are up to date.
The current regime started on a good beginning by settling fees for National Examination Council (NECO) registration fees but today is all history.
The worst aspect of the failed free secondary and primary education is the acute shortage of furniture in public schools, the frantic steps to provide over 60,000 desk and chairs worth N1.09 billion by the Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board was a failure.
It would be recalled that the government of Nasarawa state under governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura awarded a contract to the tune of N1.09 billion to the Nasarawa State Vocational and Relevant Technology Board by the Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education, impeccable source and a member of the fourth Assembly buttressed that the shabby deal lead to the failed impeachment of the state governor.
He further said N1.09 billion was the total amount for the contract, adding that money was released to the Relevant Technology, Board but was diverted to individual accounts, the fourth Assembly faulted the then chairman of the board, Mal.Abdulkarim Mohammed for the hand-in-glove in allowing the Secretary of the board and the former consultant to divert the huge amount of money as 6 percent of the furniture’s are not supplied.
An insider affirmed that the remaining desk and chairs has been already supplied but diverted to the newly established Special School for the physically Impaired situated at the suburb of the state capital, while a staff from NSUBEB who pleaded anonymity said the remaining furniture for onward distribution to Junior Secondary school and Primary schools are in safe place, even the immediate past commissioner of Education, Hajjiya Ramatu Ajuji confided that the furniture is in the warehouse of Relevant Technology Board, Lafia.
Onlookers continued to ponder on why the diversion of MOU signed between the state government and the Relevant Technology Board?
And what will be the future of junior secondary and primary education in the next two years under Al-Makura?
Majority of schools visited by universalreporters247.com can authoritatively confide that furniture is a serious impediment as pupils is seen sitting on a floor.
One of the worst hit cradles of education is the awry condition of Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Okpo in Doma Local Government of the state.
An insider affirmed that a three-classroom block collapsed due to negligence by the authorities while the existing six classes are in total jeopardy.
Universalreporters247.com can authoritatively affirm that classes 2, 3, 4 and 6 are in a pang of collapsing while classes 1 and 5 are receiving lessons under the shed of a mango tree.
The awry situations are extended to Junior and Senior Secondary schools like Government Science Secondary School, Obi.
Other schools that are in bad shapes in spite of the commitment of the state government to revitalize the education sector include Junior Secondary school Lafia East in the state capital.
The condition of Local Government Areas Education Authority, LGEA Okpo in Doma Local Government of Nasarawa State is worrisome.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Executive Chairman, Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board, Baba Gana Lawal said the board has taken an inventory of the collapsed primary school along the roadside.
When asked about the absence of deal and chairs in majority of public schools especially Junior Secondary school and Primary schools, the CPRO declined to comment over the delay in the supplies of desk and chairs two years after the award of the contract.
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