Sunday, November 1, 2009

I tried so hard not to post this picture, but this is not acceptable in today's Lagos, the so called "Centre of Excellence"

It is over a month into the new school session, but it is still a sitting affair for some pupils at Aunty Ayo Girls Comprehensive Junior Secondary School in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday when NEXT visited.

With a policy that requires school pupils to bring chairs and lockers for class use to school, the situation in Aunty Ayo is true of many public schools in the state. A majority of the pupils have to make do on the floor pending a time when their parents will buy the required furniture.

Aminat Yunus, a junior secondary school one (JSS1) pupil said she had passionately looked forward to secondary education, and the facilities that would come with it. According to her, receiving lectures on the floor never featured in those expectations.

She said: "It's not convenient to write on the floor at all, but that is where those of us without chairs and lockers write. I am still waiting for my own; my parents have not made them for me yet."

Adunola, another pupil of JSS1 is also eager to have her ‘own furniture', even though she, along with her friends have devised a method of writing, which she considered effective under the circumstance; they have been writing on their school-bags, placed firmly on their legs.

Ms Adunola said: "That is what we do, and it's easier that way. Another one is if you have a friend that has bought her furniture; she may invite you to join her."

Earlier in the day, a Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meeting was held to address the issue among others. According to the PTA Chairperson, Mr. Adeleye, who spoke to NEXT on the phone after the meeting, the issue featured prominently in their meeting.

He said that the Association has sent letters to the State Government in the past over the issue, without getting the desired response; except for a specification of what type of furniture to provide, and with what material.

He also added that the situation was also affected by the relocation of a satellite campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) which used to hold its lectures within the premises of the secondary school. Some of the pupils benefitted from the furniture provided by LASPOTECH before it moved.

"Now, we have been told that the chairs we make for the students should be made of mahogany wood, and that it should be double, and that means it should long enough to take two students. So the names of the students (pair) will be written on the seats," said Mr. Adeleye.

He added: "We (Parents) can't continue to wait for the government and leave our children to sit on the floor; that's why the parents have to make the chairs for their children. If any parent does not do that, there is nothing else we can do; his child will be left to sit on the floor."

Earlier this year, at a press briefing marking the second anniversary of this administration, Sarah Sosan, the deputy governor had said," I don't think the standard of education is low. We need to improve on factors and we've been doing that through the rehabilitation of science laboratories, provision of libraries, putting of furniture in place, and so on. We are also aggressively putting structures in place to reduce congestion in our schools.

I am proud to say that our public schools in Lagos are wonderful. Who says that the public schools are not good enough?"