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‘No desks, no teachers’, FCT school principal raises alarm

The Principal of a Junior Secondary School in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has cried out over lack of potable water, desks and other amenities.…

The Principal of a Junior Secondary School in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has cried out over lack of potable water, desks and other amenities.

This comes amidst recent surge of students’ enrollment in public primary and secondary schools in the nation’s capital sequel to hike in school fees across private schools.

City & Crime had earlier reported how numbers of enrollees in public schools across the country increased geometrically due to the fuel subsidy removal which increased burdens of many parents.

Speaking to journalists on the sideline of “Reach a Child Campaign: For Every Child Deserves Care” programme on Wednesday, the Principal of JSS, Mpape, Abuja, Mrs Ngozi Onugwu, called on the government and other critical stakeholders to act.

The programme was organised by HEARD Africa, a Non-Governmental Organisation in partnership with the office of the lawmaker representing AMAC/Bwari in the 10th House of Representatives, Joshua Obika.

Mrs Onugwu explained that over 1,000 JSS 1 students had been posted to her school and there is no desks and chairs as well as water on ground to accommodate the new students, saying they would be happy if at 400 desks could be provided.

She said, “We are facing a lot of challenges. For example, we don’t have a single desk for the incoming JSS 1 students. We need at least, 400 desks because they have posted over 1,000 students to us in this school and there is no single desk for them.

“More of the classes are dilapidated. The teaching staff are not enough. The PTA in this school had to employ 20 teachers in this school just to augment. The FCT UBEB secretariat, they are trying their best but it is not enough. We need serious intervention in this school.

“Just look at our compound, see the way we’re dressed, we dress specially in this school because we don’t dress how we want, we dress according to our environment. It is not good for us and the students. The potholes in some of the classes make it like we’re learning outside.

“Concerning recruitments of more teachers, not me alone but all the principals in UBEB. We went for a management meeting last meeting and we tabled it to the management at the meeting that we are suffering in the schools.

“The meagre money we collect from the PTA, we only use it to pay the PTA teachers. To carry out other projects in the school is a problem because of lack of funds. We have tabled it, we have written and they promised that some of our PTA teachers would be engaged permanently.

“My message is that, they should come to our aid. We need desks. As I am speaking to you, we don’t have water in this school. When there is no water, how do we improve personal hygiene of the students? We have even taken it upon ourselves, the PTA, to drill a borehole but we’re waiting for the fund because the fund is not there.”

On his part, the member, House of Representatives in AMAC and Bwari, Joshua Obika, demanded that a State of Emergency be declared on Education in the FCT, saying if any State experiences bad education, it shouldn’t be in the nation’s capital.

“For me, a State of Emergency should be declared on education in FCT. That is the first thing to be done. Let me re-affirm my belief in the newly appointed Honourable minister, I know he tried in Rivers State, and I believe he’s going to bring the same thing here in FCT.

“I will be here to support him to do everything possible to change the disastrous and crisis situation we are facing as far as education sector is concerned in the FCT – not just our junior or secondary schools, even our primary education.

“The people at the helms of affairs now, are coming with a different mindset that the people must feel the impact of governance irrespective of political affiliation,” the lawmaker told journalists.

Earlier, the Executive Director of HEARD Africa initiative, Akaoma Onyemelukwe, before writing materials were distributed to the children wondered why many children of the poor in the public schools were neglected by the elite, saying it is one of the reasons her organisation intervened.

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