At a time when knowledge acquisition in other climes is getting increasingly sophisticated, the same cannot be said to be the case in most parts of the country.
While the much-touted leaders of tomorrow in some states attend classes in ad-hoc environments including under trees, unsafe environment and sundry locations, Lagos State, many say should never be found in the company of such needy states.
But that is not the case. As a matter of fact, students in some schools in the state are taught while sitting on bare floors, while classrooms in some schools across the state are without roof, sundry fittings and devoid of requisite learning aides
Oshodi Nursery and Primary School, Oshodi, which has been in deplorable condition for a very long time is a classic example of this sad story. Located only a few kilometres away from Bolade Bus Stop, along Oshodi/Agege Motor Road, the school, which has up to four buildings within the premises, sees pupils scampering for safety anytime it rains, even as the learning process also has to be halted at such times.
This explains why parents and concerned residents of the area are urging the state government to come to their aid, by rehabilitating the school, and providing an enabling environment for the pupils to learn, in consonant with their rights to attend school in conducive environments.
The pathetic condition of the school first attracted the attention of The Guardian Newspaper, which carried a report to that effect in The Guardian on Sunday edition of February 7th, 2016. Ever since that publication, nothing has been done to improve the fortunes of the school.
This gross neglect suffered by the school, has provided a leeway for miscreants in the area to sneak in for regular Indian Hemp smoking sessions. They sometimes defecate in the open classrooms, thereby compounding an already bad situation.
When The Guardian visited the school last week, over 20 classrooms are without roof, just as empty plastic bottles and empty sachets of water jostled for space.
Some of the residents who spoke to The Guardian said they have on several occasions written letters informing the state government about deplorable state of the school, and the need to rehabilitate it, but without any positive response.
They said because of the ugly condition of the school, most of them had to relocate their children to other schools, adding that only indigent students still attend the school.
One of the residents Mr. Edwin Mathew, said parents of the pupils have raised the issue of renovation on several occasions with the school management during Parents Teacher Association (PTA) meeting, but nobody is saying anything about it.
Mathew said: “This school has been in this form for a very long time and nobody is saying anything about it. We have written letters to government but there have been no responses. We feel government has forgotten this school, and some parents have taken their children to private schools. Only a few parents still bring their children to this school because the school has been abandoned.
“I want to use this opportunity to beg the state government to come to our aid because our children are our investment so, we would not like to play with their future.”
A parent, Mrs. Kafayat Dada, said she personally wrote several letters, but when nobody responded, she visited the Ministry of Education in Alausa to inform them of condition of the school, but nothing has been done till date.
Dada said: “I have been to places to find out why the school has been abandoned, along with other parents because we suspected that government must have awarded contract for the rehabilitation of the school buildings. We found out that the contract has not been awarded, but I want to use this opportunity to ask Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to come and rehabilitate the school for our children. We are not happy with the terrible condition of the school because it is an eyesore. Our children have right to school in a conducive environment like other children in the state.”
Secretary, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board Oshodi/Isolo Local Council, Lekan Alausa Adekoya, explained that it was rainstorm that removed the roofs of the buildings in September 2014, and ever since the school management has written several letters to the state government, through the State Primary Education Board (SPEB), to rehabilitate the school, but nothing has been done.
He called on the state government to take the school building as a priority project, and rehabilitate it. He said: “As you can see, it is an eyesore and we do not like the situation. I feel one day it would be the turn of the school to be renovated because I believe government has not forgotten the school.
“One non-governmental organisation promised that it would rehabilitate the school for us in 2016, but because of the economic recession, the group apologised it would no longer happen. It is a project that would take millions of naira, so, there is nothing we can do on our own other than to write letters to government, which we did on several occasions. I know very soon by God’s grace something would be done because it is a public school and the children have right to stay and learn in a conducive environment.
“We try our best to see that the situation of the school does not affect the learning process. We thank God that we are in dry season because whenever it rains, the learning process is affected because of the open roof.
“Government should intervene in this matter. I know that government has other projects to handle, but it should make this school a priority project.”
Responding to the use of the school by miscreants and hoodlums for binging, he said, “We have arrested some of them before with the help of the police. We discovered that it was some children of some landlords in the area, including some tenants and traders in Oshodi market that litter the school environment.”