WASH: Girls with Disability Suffer, Rejected in Lagos Special Schools

WASH: Girls with Disability Suffer, Rejected in Lagos Special Schools

Children with disabilities have right to inclusive Water Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, which is also crucial to quality education. However, due to unavailability of WASH facilities in special schools, they have to contend with lots of dehumanising situations in their quest to be educated.  In some cases, girls are even denied admission, thereby dashing their hopes of a promising future, reports Omolabake Fasogbon

Local government Primary School, Ikorodu

10- year old Titi has been visually impaired from birth. Not minding her condition, she is determined to be great in life. She aspires to be an Accountant, hence her raging passion for education. “I was told I can only become an accountant if I go to school”, she said. 

Along the line, her burning desire for education waned. She said she was discouraged about her school’s WASH facilities and environment that was not suiting of her condition.

 Titi’s school, Local Government Primary School in Ipakodo, Ikorodu, is one of the 44 inclusive schools in Lagos. 

An inclusive school derives from United Nations’ (UN) mandate for inclusive education. UN describes inclusive school as one specially set aside to accommodate and cater to all children regardless of their needs, background and abilities. 

Entrance of toilet at Local government Primary School with a ramp but unsmooth path for wheel chair-pupil, no rope guide for visually- impaired pupil

According to Titi, she is always sad anytime she needs to ease herself because of the hurdles on the path to the toilet and inside the toilet, sited not so close to her classroom. 

She has no cane to guide her to the toilet, yet the school does not have a caregiver to assist her. As a result, she said she often misses her steps and falls on dangerous objects while helping herself to the toilet. 

“There was a day I hit my left eye on a sharp stone and blood started gushing out. That day, I cried and became disinterested in school but my mother encouraged me”, she recounted. 

By UN guidelines for inclusive schools, Titi’s school should have a guide string or rope stretch to guide her and others in her condition to and from toilet facility, especially for pupils lacking a white cane, like Titi. None was available. 

Titi later found help in her visually unimpaired male friend, Tunde who had been assisting her through toilet routine, as others were reluctant. This, experts say could make her a potential victim of sexual abuse. 

Now in primary four, Titi recently got a white cane after four years of frequent falls, she said she will still be needing Tunde around to guide her because of the rough and unsafe path to toilet. 

Like Titi, 11 and 13 year-old visually impaired siblings, Amina and Bose are not spared of falls, but their greatest obstacle awaits them inside the toilet which lacks running water. 

Water is significant in schools and a key element of WASH,quite instrumental to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal, SDG four, five and six.

 While the school has a central water source, water is not connected to the toilet, making usage difficult for students.

Bose said, “Anytime the water drum in the toilet is empty and the cleaner was not available or reluctant to refill it,

 we are forced to hold our excreta no matter how much we are pressed. Although painful, we had to do it because we don’t want to mess up ourselves and the toilet bowl like others do.”

Manwhile, medics have warned against holding back excreta which they say it is risky to the body and increases human chance to health issues like hemorrhoid, fecal impaction, incontinence or appendicitis and more severe complications. 

On how Tobi, another visually impaired pupil copes with lack of water in the toilet, he did not see it as a big deal like the girls. He said he either urinates openly behind toilet building or defecates in the toilet while he cleans himself with any paper found on the ground. 

Unlike Tobi, Amina and Bose who became disabled later in life said they could not do it in the open, given their biological features, adding that they respect their privacy. 

Asked Tobi how he cleans his hand, he said, “I don’t clean my hand except it got stained with faeces, then I clean it on my uniform”.  

Tobi somehow found those hands in his mouth while snacking during break time or after school closes”. 

In Nigeria, 1.4 million persons have died to diseases traceable to inadequate hand wash, according to Africa Youth Growth Foundation, AYGR. 

Inclusive Education defined

UN defines Inclusive Education (IE) system as one that accommodates all students whatever their abilities or requirements and at all levels- preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational and life-long learning. 

According to Chairman of JONAPWD, Lagos, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, the idea of IE is ensuring that Children with Disabilities (CWDs) and those without disabilities learn together in same classroom, using the same facilities. 

Adebayo said the rationale behind IE was to bridge social distance between children with disabilities and children without disabilities. 

Complying with UN mandate, the Lagos State government in May 26, 2015 endorsed the state’s IE Policy.  This is with expectations that policy will facilitate the state’s Special Peoples’ Law of 2011 and increase enrollment figure of CWDs in school.

 As part of UN’s stipulation for IE is   eliminating all forms of discrimination in learning environment, such as providing disabilities -accessible or inclusive WASH services. 

WASH gap driving inequality

Despite the obstacles to locate WASH facilities in Local Government School, the facilities are still not targeted or inclusive like UN specifies for inclusive schools. 

The situation is the same and worse off in seven other schools visited by this reporter,

Like in Methodist Primary School, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, there is no sight of any WASH facility, including toilet. A borehole sighted by reporter is said to be just donated by a non- government organisation, NGO, but for another regular school sharing premises with Methodist school.

A male pupil with paraplegia, dark and short who spoke to this reporter said they either sneak into neighbouring school or hide behind the classroom to ease themselves. Even at that, the pupils still have to wait for someone to help them descend from the raised entrance of the classroom since it has no ramp.

The experience of these pupils further corroborates United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, submission that CWDs are less likely to benefit from WASH in Schools programmes, despite its importance.

No wonder, many inclusive schools in Lagos are lacking accessible WASH services, as discovered in this investigation.

According to WaterAid, only 36 percent of schools have access to basic WASH service in Lagos, as of 2021.

Focal person, School Hygiene, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Peter Ojonuba recognised the importance of WASH in schools, lack of it which he linked to poor education outcome and ill- health. He mentioned that the effects are more torturous on girls.

Government provided inadequate WASH facilities, yet in their flawed and deplorable state are quite burdensome to children without disabilities, they are double woes for those with disabilities, especially girls, like above. 

  Due to WASH inadequacy, UNICEF stated that many girls with disabilities have dropped out of school in Nigeria.

But beyond this, this report further discovered that   girls with disabilities are also rejected while seeking admission in Lagos schools for reasons linked to WASH deficiency. This is what befell Shade, a supposed daughter of this reporter presented in schools as being visually and or physically impaired. 

Findings showed that admission preference is given to children with hearing impairment, despite that all CWDs have equal right to education. 

Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria, Ene Obi stated that 95.5 percent of CWDs are out-of-school because of their non-enrolment due to their conditions. Ene who said females are more affected cited inaccessible learning environment for their non-enrollment.

Above suggests how WASH may be widening gap not just education inequality but also gender inequality within Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) community.

According to former National President of Joint National Association for Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Mrs Ekaite Umoh, only two percent of PWDs are able to get formal education in Nigeria. 

Rejected on ground of gender, disability condition

It was a few minute past mid -day when this reporter strolled into Oore-ofe inclusive unit (Primary), unquestioned and unchecked.  

 At the slightly busy entrance of the school occupied by confectioners, was a porous unpainted security fence, a portion of the wall painted white and blue bears the school signage, screaming the sketch of a man in wheelchair.  Also, an inscription, reading: “come and register your child at Oore-ofe inclusive unit. For children with special needs”. That was quite welcoming and reassuring! However, the ‘special needs children’ note on the signage turned out to be referring to children with hearing impairments, and may be autistic. The wheel chair symbol was just a camouflage. 

Oore-Ofe Inclusive Unit, Dopemu

The students probably had one or two more lectures, before they called it a day. This reporter had enquired about enrolling her child with disability, Shade with one of the teachers, who later directed her to Mrs Onifade.  Onifade is one of the senior officials in the school. 

Abandoned water tank at Ore-oofe inclusive unit

As this reporter headed towards Onifade’s office, a putrid smell that seemed from human waste overpowered her. The reporter would have to wait for almost half hour in Onifade’s office before she joined her. 

Entrance of toilet at Oore-ofe school without a ramp, yet rough for wheel chair mobility

Waiting in Onifade’s office, this reporter, occasionally shielded her nostrils with her hands to avoid inhaling the odious smell that rented the air.  Oh! The stench was indescribable. 

 “Sorry I was busy cleaning up a girl who had fouled his body with faeces”, Onifade pleaded as she joined reporter. Seeing reporter gaped, she added, “Oh! It is a regular occurrence, don’t be surprised” She smiled as she briskly dries her damp hand on her clothing. 

Inside toilet of Children with Disabilities at Oore-ofe school

It became clearer where the odour was emanating, much so that the school’s sewage is full beyond capacity. Several letters to relevant government authority to empty the sewage had fallen on deaf ears. 

“That’s the situation we found ourselves, but we have been coping. Sometimes, there is a relief when the odour is overpowered by heavy breeze”, Onifade sighed.

The pupils, already vulnerable by their condition, have been enduring a situation which medics say can further constrain their health. 

Right in Onifade’s office are manual WASH items that both teachers and pupils cope on.  Incidentally, these items such as 10.2kg sized  water drum, bucket and bowls, amongst others are part of essential admission requirements for new entrants. 

This conversation ensued afterwards:

Onifade: How may I be of help please?

Reporter: I want to enroll my child.

Onifade: A boy or girl?

Reporter: A girl.

Mentioning girl, Onifade’s cold expression was a bit botherful, but until she knew of Shade’s condition as being wheelchair- bound and visually impaired, she bared her mind. 

Onifade; “No! We can’t accept her”

This is inspite that Shade is presented as being intellectually stable and sound.

Her reasons, “Our facilities here are not conducive for her. Not just because we are short of learning devices for her condition, but we are unlikely to cater to her personal hygiene.

“As you can see, (Leading reporter to school’s toilet) our sewage is full beyond capacity, so we practically don’t have a toilet. Sometimes, we make use of toilet facility in a neighbouring school to ease ourselves. Some pupils also choose to defecate in the open behind condemned toilet building. Few of them, especially girls still manage to use the congested pit latrine because of their privacy, even though we warned them against such”.

Continuing, she said, “Infact, not until recently that an NGO came to our aid, we didn’t have water.  We go miles to fetch water during school hours with the help of the students. I’m sorry, your daughter’s condition is far beyond the pupils here. We are not well equipped to take care of her, and being a girl, she needs special attention”. 

Peeping into the toilet that Onifade said the girls are managing to use, reporter sighted a pit latrine that is overly clogged with human faeces, with maggot overrunning it. Medic say using such facility could expose the girls to a higher risk of toilet infection, much so that it is a pit toilet, instead of a raised toilet bowl suiting of PWDs.

Curiously too, Onifade’s excuse here was about the same provided in four other schools who denied Shade a chance to be educated, against her right. – That their WASH facility was not conducive and fitting for her gender, most especially her conditions.

This is in spite that Nigeria’s IE policy clearly specifies that head teachers should not turn a disabled child away from their local school. 

At the regional level, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability points out that ‘ PWDs should not be excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability’.

Only girl in wheel chair dropped-out in Oore-ofe school

Onifade’s reason for rejecting Shade may be that she is avoiding a reoccurrence of experience she had with a girl pupil (name unknown) in wheel chair that no longer comes to school.

“It is lot easier for those with impairments other than physical or wheel-chair-bound to access WASH regardless of its state”, affirmed a Disability and Inclusion expert, Patience Ogolo- Dickson. 

A dark-skinned teacher in the school who hinted reporter about the said girl said that she was always defecating on the body even before the arrival of the teacher, as there was no caregiver. 

Her words,” Despite  the pit latrine is overly congested, she still preferred to use it that way but because the there was no ramp at the toilet entrance and no one to lift her through, she most times defecated on her body, giving us lot more  to do”. 

“She no longer comes because she couldn’t cope, and we couldn’t cope either. It is not deliberate that we abandoned her but we had more than enough to do and yet more than enough students to attend to”, she convinced.

“You can check Oki Nursery and Primary School, they should be able to enroll your daughter”, she advised. 

 But in Oki School, it is another horrific scene.

Teachers overused, interchange roles as nanny, caregiver

Not boasting or particularly ecstatic about rejecting Shade, school instructors blamed rejection on poor environment, which they said entrusted new responsibility on teachers, outside their primary assignment. 

Onifade and her counterparts in other schools said they spend productive hours in search of water or cleaning up children who fouled their body and classrooms with excreta, instead of teaching. 

 But this reporter learnt that the care of these children falls on a caregiver, to be employed and funded by government, as specified in the state’s IE policy. 

But with government’s failure to provide a caregiver, it was learnt that schools are resorting to hiring one on the bill of needy parents who are expected to pay up to N1000 monthly for this purpose.

 Most schools therefore do not have a caregiver because parents could not afford the monthly token, a situation forcing teachers to take up this role, said to have overburdened them. 

For this and more, Onifade said schools now peg their enrollment to children with hearing impairment or stable enough to maintain their self-care or needing minimum assistance.

It took this reporter convincing Onifade that Shade was not totally blind before she reluctantly agreed to admit her, but on the condition that a personal caregiver will be hired to stay with her in school. Were Shade stone-blind, it is a no deal. 

Male teacher cleans up girl who got diarrhea

In one of the schools visited (name withheld) the Head of unit, Mr Yemi Faleke, who appears to be in his late forties could not hide his displeasure about having to once clean up the genitals of a physically impaired female student, 15, who defecated on her body. 

He said, “We do not have a caregiver, yet the female teachers available are not willing to help her as they already had enough of that. I can’t watch her helpless or allow her pollute others. So I summoned the courage to do it”

Faleke confessed that he is reserved about admitting girls who are not stable enough to maintain their self-care, given the non-inclusiveness of WASH facility. 

Like other teachers, Faleke expressions of fears about enrolling Shade further corroborates  submission by an organisation that empowers PWDs across Africa, Disability Aid Foundation, stating that  girls with disability  being disproportionately affected  by  lack of WASH in school.

A United Kingdom- based charity organisation, Leonard Cheshire Disability in one of its reports established gender disparity in WASH, submitting  that special WASH devices and services are often given to boys first before girls. 

In schools visited, endured WASH facilities are not female friendly, still a caregiver expected to assist the girls, as mandated by government in its policy, is not provided by government. 

No wonder in the schools visited, it was observed that  boys are usually more than the girls, not by a thin gap. For instance in Amosun, out of a total population of 57 pupils, only 23 are girls. 

In a 2020 joint survey by FFF, JONAPWD-Lagos and Daughters of Charity, themed, ‘Mapping and Assessment of the 44 inclusive Primary and Secondary Schools in Lagos State’, of the 2,578 enrolled in all inclusive schools in 2020, 1138 are girls while only few at 291 have  visual and physical impairment combined. 

According to UNICEF, only 42% of girls with disabilities get to complete their primary school education, compared to 51% of boys with disabilities and 53% of girls without disability.

It further stated that half of young girls who drop out of school in Africa do so because their school does not have basic toilet.

Take your child to private school, government’s  teacher advised

 With classrooms upstairs, yet no ramp or lift, the message is clear to a wheelchair -bound pupil seeking admission into Oki Nursery and Primary School, Iyanaipaja.

Oki Primary School& Inclusive Unit

Still exhausting for a non -disabled person, the feeling is untellable on pupils and even teachers with paraplegia or visually impaired who need to climb the stairs from the down floor to access a visibly deplorable and unseemly WASH.

Approached on admitting Shade in the school, a special teachers, Mr Taiwo Akin simply advised reporter to take Shade to a private school, specifically pacelli, a Catholic mission funded school for CWDs.

Stairways (no ramp) leading to class and toilet of pupils at Oki Nursery and Primary School, Dopemu

Trying to convince reporter, he led a tour to school’s toilet. The toilet looking more of a burgled facility, littered with iron and wood, with no door for privacy, hand washing facilities, tap water and ramp, amongst others, is obviously not safe and fit for Shade. 

“You can imagine how long and pain it takes our physically impaired teachers to climb the stairs not to talk of these tender children, and getting to the toilet, they still can’t get the relief they yearned”, he flared. 

Inside the toilet of Oki Nursery/Primary School, without door for privacy

On the alternative, Taiwo asked reporter to employ a caregiver who will lift Shade up and down the stairs and assist her with self-care if she must be enrolled in the school.

“But I can see you are educated and wants the best for your child. I will advise you take her to Pacelli”, he added. 

More Shocking realities in schools

Had Oki and seven other schools visited had adequate WASH facilities, designed at par with UN standards, Shade, most likely would not have to suffer a rejection. 

Just as Ogolor-Dickson had pointed out that provision of inclusive WASH in school will make both children and teacher happy and boost enrollment figure.

Amosun Primary School, Agege

Studying UN/ Water Aid guidelines, inclusive WASH facilities entail: “Spacious toilets wide enough for wheel chair or crutches, decked with assistive devices like handrails fixed within CWDs reach in both toilets sides. A clear and safe path to facility that should be sited close to classroom and running water.  Also, a ramp wide at not less than 80 cm at toilet entrance for wheel chair.   Safe menstrual hygiene facility, raised toilet bowl and a wide protected door, opening outward, amongst others. 

But none of the schools visited beat these requirements, not even by half. The best observed in Amosun Primary School; ‘not spacious, rampless, without assistive rails, guide string and a nonfunctional toilet flapper’, is not better than worse when compared with standard above. So much that findings showed that girls of menstruating age stay away from school during their period because the facility is not gender friendly. This is inspite that the school enjoys close proximity with  education regulatory body-Education District one, Agege.

Certainly, their state is not so close to the glamorous picture painted by Lagos state government of its inclusive schools.  Like in Oore-ofe school where the toilet is about three minutes’ walk to the toilet building and possibly five minutes for CWDs, it is defensible that pupils mess up themselves even before getting to the toilet, given their susceptibility to fecal incontinence. By 2015 Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in schools guidance, a minimum of one toilet should be in a classroom for close proximity. 

Where the World Health Organization recommends a pupil-toilet ratio of 1:30 for boys and 1:25 toilets for girls, in Oki School with over 500 pupils, it is more of competition and war where over 125 pupils battle for one toilet, this is yet after the excruciating climb of the staircase. 

UNICEF emphasises special attention be paid  to designs and location of school WASH such that they are disability friendly, gender sensitive and safe for girls and female teachers. Where government flawed here, non- government organisations (NGOs) coming to schools’ aid are also following suit. 

For instance, help came through for Oore-ofe school which after years of waiting, got an NGO renovated its toilet and provided a borehole facility.  Still, the design of the toilet could not serve disability conditions like Shade’s. 

Adebayo said such untailored NGO’s gesture is an indication of a failed system, which boils down to poor policy implementation. 

“There should be a proper communication of policy to donor. The school head is in a position to do this. Donors can’t just drop anything to school anyhow, they are expected to follow procedures”, he raged. 

And while only  Local Government Primary school has a ramp at  toilet frontal, others not female friendly and without a caregiver to assist pupils, except Amosun school, depict the extent at which Lagos could be driving exclusion of CWDs in the state. 

In a study by Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), making WASH accessible cost less than 3% of total cost.

Lagos IE policy lacks provision for WASH

 The Lagos State  IE Policy aimed to increase enrollment figure of PWDs in schools, on the contrary, PWDs like Shade are rejected for reasons like WASH gap created by government. 

A check on 2015 Lagos IE policy  shows it does not capture WASH, except water, which is still not available in all the schools. 

Though, branded as the foremost state and a reference point to IE in Nigeria, the reality of WASH in Lagos inclusive schools does not defend its status as the state with the highest revenue in Nigeria, raking in over N 651 billion as of 2022.

 It is also at variance with the picture painted by former Chairman of Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), Wahab Alawiye-King who boasted that   inclusive schools are well equipped and special need-friendly for accessibility. 

Already, 40 percent of over two million out -of -school children in Lagos are CWDs, according to Adebayo

The  World Bank stated that PWDs experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes and face higher rates of multidimensional poverty.  Adebayo said this trend can be reversed with quality education, in which WASH matters a lot. 

CWDs graduating in elementary schools rejected in high schools

The level of rejection in inclusive primary school is a bit hopeful where it is that the more severe a child’s disability is, the lesser chance of that child getting education.

Sanngo Senior Secondary School, Agege

In Lagos, Inclusive schools are rationed such that each municipality has at least one elementary school while up to three municipalities combined share only one high school, rarely, two. Expectedly, graduating pupils from elementary schools proceed to any of the few high schools close to their municipality. 

Findings revealed that CWDs, other than those with hearing impairment have slim chances to advance their education in the few available inclusive high schools. 

Students pressed but cannot access toilet locked by cleaner who is absent in school ( Entrance has no ramp) at Sanngo Senior High School, Agege

It is therefore not surprising that  visited schools are solely occupied by hearing impaired students, this is inspite that they flaunt a signage of being receptive and not discriminatory to all kinds of disabilities. 

 This further raises concern as to where CWDs who are fortunate to pass through elementary schools are being absorbed thereafter. 

At first, WASH designs in these school do not comply with UN standards, else Shade would have been accepted at Sango Senior Secondary School, Agege within reason, where she was abruptly rejected by others, including Ipakodo Junior Grammar School, Ikorodu. 

“How will she use the toilet, who will lead her there and assist her? She needs someone to be there for her all the time, especially because she’s a girl. We can’t promise to do this because we don’t have a caregiver “, the three teachers who attended to reporter in Sango school persuaded.

Stepping out of the school, reporter stumbled on some students, grumbling. They are obviously pressed but could not relieve themselves because the toilet was padlocked. 

“The cleaner has the key but she is absent today. We are not always able to use the toilet anytime she is unavailable”, said one of the students when questioned. 

Lagos government fails to account for N54million spent on Special School

A check on the 2023 Lagos State budget revealed that a sum of N143. 5M was set aside for special schools in the state. Of this, a total of N54 M was reportedly spent in first, second and third quarter of 2023, while N20.2M was spent in third quarter alone. However, going through the contracts approved by Lagos State Public Procurement Agency for the said period, it was discovered that no contract involving or related to special or inclusive schools was awarded. This reporter enquired to know what and how N54M was spent but the relevant agencies approached only tried to dodge the question and shifted responsibility on another.

Other questions put to them on the deplorable status of WASH in schools were equally ignored. 

As for the immediate past Commissioner for Education in Lagos, Folasade Adefisayo who is quite significant here, she directed reporter to her successor, Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun, when reached for comment. 

 Alli-Balogun through the Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ganiu Lawal promised to respond to enquiry. He is yet to respond. Also at the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, reporter was still directed to Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun.

On her part, former Special Assistant to Lagos governor on Disability and inclusion, Adenike Oyetunde-Lawal refused to comment.  Oyetunde-Lawal who is now the General Manager of Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) said, “I am not granting any interviews at this time”.

Blame situation on Exclusion of PWDs at decision table, Govt’s unwillingness- Experts

Disability expert, Ogolo- Dickson who is also paraplegic said that she expects more from Lagos state being a model state in Nigeria on IE.

She, corroborating reporter’s findings blamed situation on non-inclusive policy and corruption, but absolved head teachers rejecting children of blame. 

Mrs Patience Ogolo-Dickson

She said, “It’s a pity that up till now, PWDs are still excluded in decision making, else they would have known where the shoe pinches. It is so sad those in government know what is right, but have refused to do it because they feel PWDs are unimportant”. 

She lamented that targeted or inclusive WASH service is not only overlooked in schools but across public and private facilities, with few exceptions.

She recalled that during an antenatal visit to a government clinic, she needed to use the rest room but could not because the two toilets available were not targeted. 

“In the first place, it was a pit toilet, and the only option for me was to kneel to use the toilet. Was I expected to kneel on a dirty floor surface and still pat my hands on a dirty floor for support, then leave the place nursing another disease? As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even go in because the toilet size was so small to pass my wheelchair. So I can understand what these children are going through”, she said. 

She called for need accessible standards and a review of the law. 

Like Adebayo earlier observed, she stressed that inclusive school was crucial to fostering social interaction and break inferiority complex among PWDs. She tasked the government on steps that will improve the lot of the schools. 

“Having inclusive WASH will translate to increased enrollment of girls in school. This means that both the girls and even the nation will experience development on all sides. 

“Moreover, creating and inclusive environment in school is a subtle way of teaching the future generation to embrace inclusiveness in their endeavours as they grow old”, she said. 

On the situation, Adebayo described Lagos state government as being a failure, stating that the success of a government thrives on its ability to cater for the weakest in the society. 

Editor’s note: Names of teachers and pupils in the story are not real, to protect the identity of the children and teachers.

This report was facilitated by Africa Centre for Development Journalism as part of its 2023 inequalities reporting fellowship supported by the MacArthur Foundation through the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Reporting.

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