By Olawale Ajimotokan
The shortage of classrooms and toilets warranted by urban population explosion have been identified as topmost impediments to learning in primary and secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This was revealed in the published reports of activities in the FCT education sector, from the Department of Policy Planning Research and Statistics, FCT Education Secretariat.
The findings were contained in three publications presented to the public. They are Community Score Card 2018, Monitoring of Learning Achievement (MLA) 2019 and Annual School Census Statistical reports 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.
The report stated that only 26 per cent of primary schools had access to safe drinking water, 44 per cent in junior secondary schools and 67 per cent in senior secondary schools, while only 27 per cent of primary schools, 65 per cent of junior secondary schools and 90 per cent of senior secondary schools have access to electricity.
As part of the recommendations, however, is a call for more toilets to be provided to prevent open defecation in addition for retraining of teachers to enable put in more, while the government should engage more Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to enhance the provision of education facilities.
Reacting to the development, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who performed the official presentation of the reports assured that the FCT administration will double its efforts to address the challenges.
The minister, who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola appealed to good-spirited members of the public to help in building and donating blocks of classrooms.
“When you see the gap between students’ population and the facilities available, it is evident that government alone cannot meet this challenge. So, we want to call on the citizens especially philanthropists to help. Let them come and donate blocks of classrooms to us; Let them go to build schools to immortalise their names.
“Let them come out to support the developmental efforts of government in various communities. When we do this, we will be able to address it. So it is an issue that all of us have a role to play; government will do its part, and the populace citizens will do their part, and the families too should do their part,” he stressed.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Director Department of Policy Planning Research and Statistics, Dr. Mohammed Sani Ladan, noted that from the reports, it was discovered that there was an increase in the number of public primary schools from 619 in 2017/2018 to 629 in 2018/2019 while junior secondary schools increased from 165 to 169 within the same period.
He added that there was an increase in public schools’ enrolment from 229,035 in 2017/2018 to 236,800 in 2018/2019 for primary, from 143,115 to 143,795 for junior secondary school and from 73,664 to 76,213 senior secondary.
He noted that increase in the budgetary allocation and prompt releases of funds to the department will enable the department achieve its statutory mandate.