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Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho
B.tech Marketing Management
Graduate, Nigeria.
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Quality assurance units in education departments at federal and state levels have laid down basic infrastructure, including sanitation facilities, safe classrooms, water, electricity and laboratories that all schools must have.

Though the regulations apply to every school, most public schools lack the necessary infrastructure to offer quality education to learners.

One of such schools is Aperin Oniyere Commercial Grammar School, Orita Aperin, Ibadan South East Local Government Area, Oyo State, where there are no desks and chairs for students. In fact, students have no option than to place mats and pieces of fabrics, they bring from home on the bare floor to sit on.

This negates the general belief of scholars that pillars of education are a combination of supporting environment, dedicated teachers and students who take joy in learning.

In the best possible way, classroom furniture should improve posture, provide better attention level, better concentration that aid better memory.

Despite promises by successive governments to prioritise education, there are only four chairs in one of the senior classes built to accommodate 50 students. Students are thus, forced to sit on the cold floor while others stand outside and peep through the windows during classes.

In 2018, the Oyo State government reportedly spent the sum of N2 billion on renovation and upgrading of school facilities, out of which N800 million was contributed by the stakeholders. Obviously, the school did not benefit from the gesture.

The 37-year-old school with dilapidated structures was established to care for both special (physically challenged) and other students, but at present there are no facilities for special needs students, hence all the students learn in the same way.

Apart from the poor infrastructure in the school, there is also the problem of overcrowding as since 2012, the number of students has outnumbered the facilities on ground. For instance, according to the last ‘publicly known’ survey conducted by the government in 2012, the school reportedly had 286 male students and 502 female students, making a total of 788 students being handled by 14 teachers in 13 classrooms.

Out of the 13 blocks in the school, a two-storey building with a tattered roof and broken windows is being used, while three blocks already occupied by weeds and trees are abandoned.

One of the teachers of the physically challenged students who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The cost of educating special students is higher compared to the regular students. While normal students can get a pen and book for less than N500, a special student’s writing material cost about N4,000.

“As far as a blind person is concerned, all he needs is writing materials and a tape recorder to keep up with the lesson. Another thing is furniture, just like any other person, he needs good furniture. If others can manage, he too will manage. But the basic thing is the learning materials. If he doesn’t have them, he can’t learn.

“We have computers but they are not functioning because some accessories are not available. Those computers we are talking about were donated by philanthropists and are not sufficient, anyway. The computers are about three or four while we have about 40 students. So those computers are not sufficient.” he said.

Another teacher of regular students said the government over the years had neglected its role in the school system.

He said, “We have inadequate learning facilities but we cannot blame the incumbent government because it is barely a year old. What about the successive governments in Oyo State? It is sad and one cannot believe that we can have that kind of eyesore in this age. We want government and individuals to support this school,” he said.

Our correspondent who visited the school found that a block of three classrooms constructed in 2012 was the only building presentable; it is occupied by Junior Secondary School students.

Some students, while narrating their ordeals, said most of them come with mats from home to sit on.

One of the students who appealed to the state government to see to the plight of the school urgently said, “We need amenities in this school than any other school around.”

He further said, “We have 15 classrooms that are mostly dilapidated; two classes for science and arts students are combined in one classroom. Besides, there are inadequate learning materials and many students have to bring seats from home.

“For example there are only four chairs in a class of 51 students and the remaining students sit on the floor. Some sit on the window which is very dangerous for us. This is not conducive. We hereby plead with the present government to provide the required learning and teaching materials for us.”

On her part, a female student who also sought for anonymity said at the moment, the school does not have enough furniture for the senior secondary school students to use in the forthcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). She said senior students were gripped by fear reading amid crumbling facilities. Dozens of them would likely write the exam sitting on the floor, unless government quickly intervenes.

She called on policy makers to step up efforts in building safe classrooms at least for the final year students before the exam which is in a couple of months.

“Generally, in this school, we don’t have enough habitable classrooms and seats. We learn in a combined classroom consisting of arts and science students. That is not even an issue, the main problem is that students in SSS 3 dont have facilities to write school certificate exams. I want the government to please come to the aid of the school so that teachers can be motivated to teach and the students to learn.

Reacting to the condition of schools in the state, the Commissioner for Education, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, said decaying school facilities are one of the ‘liabilities’ the government inherited.

He said worried over the development, Governor Seyi Makinde had approved the production of 64,000 chairs and benches for secondary and primary schools in the state.

According to him, the new furniture would be ready soon.

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