Pupils of Government Day Secondary School sitting on bare floor in class. Photos: Olaide Oyelude
Government Day Secondary School, Jibiya, Katsina State is blighted by an air of neglect that is visible from different views of the public school. So irrespective of the angle an onlooker stands, the state of disrepair is evident.
Founded in 1983, a tour of the school located in Dan Marke area, off Chama Park Road, Jibiya by Saturday PUNCH, revealed the lofty dreams of its founders for the school and the community. Despite the glaring rot occasioned by neglect, the blocks of classrooms still have telltale signs of the kind of facilities provided in the school when it was established.
For instance, the school has a staff quarters to encourage the teaching staff have easy access to the school. Though dilapidated with walls thick with grime accumulated over the years, the facility has an examination hall, laboratory, library, computer room, and sports facilities, including a football field.
Some trees dot the landscape of the school, providing shade and offering some semblance of beauty and normality, a stark contrast to the unsightly infrastructure of the school.
Residents of the state now only speak longingly about a time when the Government Day Secondary School was a first choice for many parents and prospective pupils in the area, who wanted quality secondary school education. Considering the state of the school, such dreams are a far cry from the reality that its pupils experience.
The school’s large expanse of land, including the football field, has been converted to unconventional routes by numerous motorists and okada riders (commercial motorcyclists), with some motorists using the field as a makeshift training school where learners can perfect their driving skills. And with the lack of perimeter fences, miscreants also find it easy to wander through the school.
It was however learnt that the school was divided into junior and secondary schools in 2006, with both still occupying the same facility. Further investigation showed that pupils’ population for the schools was close to 12,000, and the overcrowded classrooms as witnessed by our correspondent, seemed to confirm that.
Nothing in the school showed that it benefited from the state government’s ‘Restoration Agenda,’ which has education sector as one of its priorities.
Since the classrooms do not have desks and chairs, pupils are forced to sit on bare floor, which makes writing a difficult task for them.
It was also learnt that apart from an uncompleted block of two classrooms built by an unnamed politician as part of his constituency projects, no structure had been added to the school since its establishment.
This has invariably led to overcrowding in classrooms because of the increasing population of pupils. As a result, structures that should serve as school laboratory and library have been converted to classrooms.
Therefore, some classes are merged together as a temporary solution to the problem of inadequate number of classrooms.
Quite sadly too, many of the classrooms have dilapidated due to the activities of vandals who reportedly saunter into the school complex at will, especially at night, to remove doors, windows and other items since the school complex is not fenced.
So, many classrooms are left with fallen roofs or without ceilings, doors and windows. It was further learnt that the school examination hall is now being used for social events rather than for its original purpose because of its current state.
A Senior Secondary School 2 science pupil, Awwal Jamilu, lamented the situation, adding that his parents had hired a private tutor to teach him “after school hours because of the poor learning condition in the school.”
Similarly, Mallam Nasiru Muntari, a parent of one of the pupils of the school, was still nostalgic about the good old days the school once enjoyed.
Pleading with the state government in a telephone interview with our correspondent, Muntari recalled that the school had turned out many illustrious indigenes of the state and stressed the importance of paying attention to education.
“It is a pity that the school has become what it is today due to government’s negligence. The school was the first secondary school in Jibiya and it has produced many illustrious indigenes of the state.
“Unfortunately, undue politics has not made government to give the school the needed attention as those who were supposed to submit the name of the school for the attention of the state government when it began its restoration project for schools, failed to do so.
“That is why the school is in its horrible state today. Many schools that were established after Government Day Secondary School and are not even as popular as the school, have been rehabilitated by the state government,” he said.
However, the principals of the junior and secondary arms of the school did not only refuse to give their names, they also referred Saturday PUNCH to the state Ministry of Education for all enquiries concerning the school.
“Why can’t you go the headquarters in Katsina to find out all you need to know about this school? You cannot get anything from us because as civil servants, we are not supposed to talk to the media,” the Principal of the junior secondary school, whose name was displayed as Bishir Tambuwal in his office, said.
But two teachers at the senior secondary school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, bemoaned the current state of the school.
One of them said, “The truth of the matter is that government seems to have forgotten this school because no attention is being paid to it.
“Go round and see things for yourself. How could you teach pupils under this condition and expect positive results? I pity the pupils because of the harsh conditions under which they learn here. I will however appeal to both the state and federal governments to come to the aid of the school.
“First, they should fence the entire school compound to prevent further encroachment on the school land. Second, they should equip our laboratory, computer room and library. Books and computers should be provided for the school. This school teaches both science and arts pupils, yet we don’t have an equipped laboratory and computers to teach them. The laboratory and other such places have been converted to classrooms.”
The state Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Badamosi Charanchi, could not be reached for comments as he was said to be unavailable when our correspondent visited the ministry.
It was however learnt that Governor Aminu Masari’s Special Adviser on Restoration, Sabo Musa, had recently led a delegation to the school and promised that it would be one of the schools to be rehabilitated next by the government.
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