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The Federal Capital Territory Administration has said it would roll-out a project called “Renovate 100 schools in 100 days” to address the infrastructure deficit in primary schools across the nation’s capital.
The FCTA Mandate Secretary (Education), Sani Elkatuzu, stated this while reacting to a report on the state of basic education in the FCT, funded by the MacArthur Foundation through the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, as part advocacy for improved social services in indigenous communities of Abuja.
The report which was released by a research and advocacy organisation, Hipcity Innovation Centre, had indicated that 15 out of 16 primary schools visited by the community vanguards, lacked perimeter fence for security.
The community vanguards were commissioned by Hipcity Innovation Centre to identify and report gaps in service delivery in the education system of their respective chiefdoms.
The Executive Director of HipCity Innovation Centre, Bassey Bassey, insisted that the right to quality basic education cannot be overlooked or treated with levity.
He said, “We charge the responsible state actors to speedily renovate and equip these schools with adequate number of classroom desks and other furniture; provide modern toilet facilities, improve water sources such as boreholes and pumps, fans and electricity to power them, as well as, fully equipped playgrounds in all schools regardless of how remote the community is.”
The report also revealed that all the 16 schools have some parts of their building roofs blown off by wind, rendering some of their classrooms unfit for use.
It was also reported that many of the schools’ buildings are ramshackle with sagging walls capable of crumbling any day.
All the schools lacked a functional borehole or pump for water are grossly unequipped, lack desks and other furniture as well as well-equipped and functional playgrounds for pupils.
Reacting to the report, Elkatuzu confirmed the findings, but explained that budgetary constraints were delaying the planned renovation exercise.
He said, “We are all aware of this and the mandate of the government concerning public schools in the FCT and there is a plan to improve 100 schools in 100 days with plans to solve the issues of infrastructure decay in our schools. We are only waiting for our budgets to be passed before it comes to fruition.”
According to him, the FCT Administration had directed school administrators to stop demanding for money from parents, but to channel their needs to the authorities for approval when necessary, as basic education by the government, is totally free in Nigeria.
Bassey added, “Furthermore, in light of the current security challenges plaguing the FCT, there is urgent need for perimeter fences to be built around schools and other security measures to be put in place to safeguard the lives of pupils in schools in the FCT, which was the reason for the premature closure of the schools in July.”