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THE ROOF OF THE MATTER

By NBF News
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•Teachers busy with the pupils; Inset: The Headmaster's office

Wuro-Yolde, a town in Gurin district of Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State, made news recently when The Punch published a photograph of primary school pupils from there, learning under some trees. The town is about six kilometres to Gurin which borders the Cameroun Republic. Wuro-Yolde Primary School, established in 1976 with first enrolment of 91 pupils, is one of the elementary schools in the local government area.

The school is said to have produced a number of prominent citizens who have failed to identify with the plight of their alma-mater. As at now, it is in a very bad shape, infrastructure-wise despite numerous efforts said to have been made by the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and the Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board, (ADSUBEB), to give it a facelift.

The roof of the first classroom block, constructed in 1976, and said to accommodate four classes, was recently blown off by sandstorms. Investigation by Education Review revealed that it was because of this that the pupils were forced to learn under trees, due to lack of classrooms. As at the time we visited the school, the pupils were seen learning in some of the dilapidated classrooms.

Investigation also revealed that only six teachers and their Head Teacher, one Mallam Lawal Sani, are managing the school with over 500 population. Also, the privileged pupils in the school, who learn in classrooms sit on the bare floor while the teachers appear to be overworked due to their heavy academic work-load.

Truly, the PTA donated few pieces of furniture to a classroom or two, but the seating provisions are apparently overstretched due to the number of pupils struggling every day to sit on the benches.

All efforts made by Education Review to speak with the Head Teacher, Sani, on the phenomenon proved abortive as he refused to make further comments other than that a good number of interest groups and officials of the Universal Basic Education Board have been visiting the school and promising to help put the dilapidated structure in shape, but they are yet to fulfill their promises.

When this reporter visited the Local Education Authority, Fufore, for comments, the Education Secretary, one Mallam Saidu, was said not to be in the office, but a source added that even if he were around, he would still not have obliged the interview without a letter of permission from the Executive Chairman of Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board authorizing him to do so.

Similarly, when we visited the board for comments, neither the Executive Chairman, Alhaji Salihu Bakari nor the Board Secretary, Mr. Daniel Diraso, was in the office. Bakari was said to have travelled to Abuja for an official function. However, few parents who agreed to speak on the issue, on condition of anonymity, appealed to the authorities to come to their aid. They observed that a good number of primary schools that were established within the same period as theirs have had theirclassroom blocks entirely reconstructed to create a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.

A number of pupils that Education Review interacted with showed some sparks of intelligence. They showed that they have some innate ability to learn. The only drawback was that they were doing that learning under a very difficult environment.

The pupils especially those in the playgroup and in class one, expressed different dreams of wanting to be medical doctors, teachers, lecturers, broadcasters, administrators and judges when they grow up. For instance, eight-year-old Aminu Shehu, a Primary two pupil, dreams of becoming a doctor while Ramatu Hassan, six, who could read alphabets and Roman numerals, dreams of becoming a teacher. Usman Suleiman, seven, dreams of being a pilot, while Fatimatu Lawal, five, in a play class desires to be a broadcaster.