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Inside Kaduna’s dilapidated 37-year-old primary school

In Kushamfa ‘A’ community in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, whenever a thick cloud forms, the school has to close because the two…

In Kushamfa ‘A’ community in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, whenever a thick cloud forms, the school has to close because the two dilapidated mud blocks of four classrooms can barely shield pupils and teachers from the rain. Daily Trust Saturday looks into the decades of neglect, lack of infrastructure, and basic teaching facilities in Kushamfa’s only primary school.

Adamu Kadams is disheartened that his nine-year-old boy has to sit on the floor daily to receive lessons in school. To compound to his woes, more often than not, the same nine-year-old would have to return home at the slightest inkling of a forming thick cloud. “It is very disheartening for a child to close from school at an abnormal hour just because the weather has changed and it might rain,” he said.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that in Kushamfa ‘A’ community of Katugal ward, in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, there exist just one primary school established in 1985. The LEA Primary School Kushamfa ‘A’, with old looking mudbrick walls that barely hold its rusted stained corrugated roofing is an eyesore. A school which boasts of 300 pupils on record hardly see half of that population due to lack of basic facilities.

What remains of a block of classrooms destroyed by rain in 2021

With two dilapidated blocks of four class rooms, the school has no toilet facilities, inadequate teachers and lacks teaching facilities. Our correspondent gathered that pupils from two to three grades are usually combined in a class which often causes overcrowding. Teachers and residents of the community say the situation is worsens during the rainy season when pupils and teachers will have no choice but to return home.

Speaking with our correspondent on the condition of the school, a youth leader in the community, Fushang Titus Atama, said the lack of basic infrastructure and teaching aids in the school has continued to hinder many children from furthering their education. He said the school used to have over 500 pupils but many parents have transferred their wards to private schools elsewhere due to lack of basic facilities. “Those who cannot afford to take their children to private schools have left them here,” he said.

“When rain falls, I often fear for some of the pupils who stay in the dilapidated building because a strong rain or wind could pull down the roof of the building,” he said, adding that: “even if it is the first lesson period of the day, once it rains or there is a sign of rain, the pupils rush home and they don’t come back to school after the rainfall.”

Expressing his disappointment at government for subjecting both pupils and the teachers to an unfriendly learning environment, Kadams said government knows the condition of the school and wonders why nothing has been done to change its fortunes. “The word of God says train up a child in the way he should go, so that he will not depart from it as he grows, but this situation is denying our children education. How will the society grow without good education? Our children are the leaders of tomorrow but how can they lead without sound education, especially at the elementary level which is the foundation of knowledge,” he said.

“This is happening in a democratically elected government. We have two polling units and we are exercising our rights to vote but politicians abandon us when they win elections. Their children travel abroad and leave our children in this poor condition,” he lamented.  

As the only primary school in Kushamfa; a community of over 2600 people, Daily Trust observed that even the two existing blocks of four classrooms have no desks and chairs, forcing pupils to either squat, sit on stones or bare floors.

The Chairman, School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) in Kushamfa, Emmanuel Magaji, said: “We are worried about the state of the only public school in our community. We need government’s intervention, at least to reconstruct the school for our children.” Magaji said apart from the damaged structures, the school also faces challenges of insufficient teachers and the lack of basic teaching facilities. 

Daily Trust reports that the SBMC, which is a body established to act as a bridge between schools and communities, decried that the poor facility in Kushamfa LEA Primary school is detrimental to the education of the children. “The situation is bad, as the pupils will not even concentrate since they are overcrowded,” said the SBMC chairman.  

Though our correspondent gathered that the school was last renovated in 2007, some of the buildings had collapsed in 2021 due to a heavy rainstorm. The Village Head of Kushamfa ‘A’, Mr. John Tanko, explained that since last year’s rainstorm which wiped out a large chunk of the school building, the community had written to the Local Government Council which had promised to renovate the classes. This however has not been done.

Tanko expressed concern over the dilapidated conditions of the existing blocks of class rooms, adding that its poor state has made it possible for teachers to discharge their pupils whenever it was about to rain. “This is because the available classes cannot accommodate the pupils and teachers. Apart from the school, the entire community is facing water scarcity as there is no means or source of water. The entire village has a total of six boreholes but unfortunately, none of them is functioning because they were not drilled to meet the source of water on the ground,” he said.

The village head confirmed that the school has no toilet facility and pupils and teachers have resorted to the use of nearby bushes to ease off. “We have been complaining about the condition of our classes but nothing has been done so far, our community also has no healthcare centre, not a single clinic to treat the over 2600 people,” he said.

When contacted, the PTA Chairman of the school, Gambo Sani, said the community is in dire need of government’s assistance because the two manageable blocks have no single chair and the pupils all squat or sit on the bare floor. “I also witnessed a situation where the pupils of primary 1 and 2 are combined and sitting in the same class as a result of lack of classes,” he said, and appealed to the local government council to come to the aid of the community by posting teachers and renovating the school to enable a comfortable learning atmosphere.

However, the Council Chairman of Kagarko LGA, Nasara Auza Rabo, who spoke with Daily Trust through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Godwin Shehu Magaji said the council was aware of the state of the primary school and was executing its projects accordingly.

“We know about the situation of Kushamfa Primary School, they have reported the incident but we are executing our projects gradually, ward by ward, across the local government area. We have many projects in Katugal ward, the same ward that Kushamfa falls under. We are now executing a box culvert there and very soon, we will address the issue of the primary school and start the renovation,” he added.

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