Nigeria 2016 budget was presented last week. Maybe, this time things are different but one can only believe anything the budget says about allocation when implemented.
If Nigerians living in big cities moan about some issues, one can be sure that rural folks deal with the same challenges 4 folds at least especially when it comes to lack of quality education.
We highlight the plight of rural people but we seldom realise one of the major factors that keeps rural family down decades on after the independence is lack of equal opportunity to quality education.
Often when federal government presents a huge sum of budget for education, rural families are the least to be hopeful of getting a kobo out of it.
As Nigeria goes, in the southwest at least, the only difference between our small towns and villages is a few tarred road in town as well as electricity. Other than that lack of maintenance in our public schools is rife everywhere.
It is hard sometimes to understand the mindset of our policy makers but whatever it may be, I have never understood how a country intend to grow if over 50% of its population who live in rural areas are deprived access to quality education (similar to what city folks have at least).
In April this year, I took a walk through a few streets in Modakeke. I went to my old primary school at CAC Oke Aanu , Ondo Road Akarabata. The school is located by a major road – Ondo road. Looking around the school, about half of the classrooms have been abandoned for the lack of maintenance. What was obvious was that no single maintenance has been done to the school since I left there in 1985, my old classrooms are now dumpster, see pictures here.
Again, my sister’s old primary school LA Primary School Alapata is now this, this one was the handiwork of yesterday King of Ife, Ooni Sijuade – we will forever remember him. Her e is the road opposite the school, hard to believe this was once a thriving parts of the town. It’s only about 10 am and the streets looks deserted.
Even with the new school model pioneered by the current state administration, these abandoned schools need to be brought back to old self as they were strategically placed to serve immediate communities.
While I am aware that my town has a peculiar case of civil unrest that has contributed massively to already sorry case of lack of funding for school maintenance, however, it is unbelievable that schools can go for decades without any budget for school facility upgrades, if there was any allocation – clearly none was spent for intended purpose.
One of the main reasons people keep moving to urban areas is to get better schools for their children, if folks in small towns and villages were to benefit from 2016 education budget, it will only benefit everyone if state government is tasked to extend funding to our small towns and villages. And of course proper monitoring to follow.
Finally, my hope is that significant focus will be placed on Primary and secondary school education. If this happens I do hope that there will be clear plan to improve the schools in our small towns.