Some stakeholders in the education sector in the North-East have called for more private sector investment in the sector to address the dearth of school infrastructure in the region.
The stakeholders, comprising educationists, teachers, parents and government officials spoke while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria on school infrastructure in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola.
They said education is a critical sector that contributes to human capital development and sustainable future for the country which must not be overlooked.
The stakeholders called on the private sector to invest more in basic education through scholarships, construction and rehabilitation of schools across the region.
They said the call was imperative to address infrastructure gaps caused by the wide scale vandalisation of schools ocassioned by decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
Mr Iliyasu Musa, a Bauchi-based educationists, said that most of the schools in the region lack classrooms, offices, laboratories and toilet facilities due to ravaging activities of the insurgents and vandals.
He said the dilapidated infrastructure in basic and post basic schools militated against effective delivery of quality education.
The academic don said that private sector investment would compliment government efforts towards the improvement of school infrastructure across the region.
“The Federal Government in collaboration with states and development partners initiated viable school infrastructure development projects across the region.
“Encouraging private sector investment in education will address school infrastructure deficit in the region,” he said.
To address the infrastructure gaps, the Borno government has constructed 105 schools across the 20 local government areas of the state, according to Mustapha Bukar, Director, School Management, Ministry of Education.
He said that 45 Mega schools were designated out of the 105 newly constructed schools to cater for the children orphaned by Boko Haram insurgency.
While 65 others were established to decongest classrooms, create enabling teaching and learning environment.
Mohammed Abdullahi, Spokesman of the Board, said some 790 units of magnetic white board and 489 recycling bins had been distributed to the schools to promote hygiene and sanitation.
He said the construction of new classrooms and rehabilitation of existing ones in most schools across the state would enhance access to quality education, and commended the state government for the feat achieved.
Garba urged corporate organisations and individuals to compliment the gesture by investing in school infrastructure development.
In Yobe; the state government says it has constructed 200 classroom blocks in its bid to provide conducive learning environment in schools across the state.
Some seven model primary and post basic schools had been established in major towns to decongest students’ population.
Classroom blocks in Gombe
According to him, the commission is constructing classroom blocks in schools across the 11 LGAs, to augument efforts towards providing quality school infrastructure.
He said some 124 accommodation had been provided across 20 schools in the state.
On his part, Mr Khalifa Lawal, Executive Secretary Education Endowments Fund (EEF) of the commission, said that part of the mandate of the fund was to execute viable projects to address school infrastructure gaps in the region.
He said the Commission is current executing a number of classroom projects and provided instructional materials to schools in the region.
Some of the schools visited included Jaudi, Gadadun, 744 Mobile Base, Yadi, Baure, Madobi, Takur Site, Fagoji, Galamawa, Danmasara and Sakwaya.
NAN reports most of the schools were renovated, new classrooms constructed and equipped with furniture.
Wasilu Umar, Public Relations Officer in the state Ministry of Education, said the state government has establised additional primary and junior secondary schools to decongest the existing ones.
He said the schools were also constructed to ensure conducive learning environment, adding that 80 per cent of the schools in the state had been equipped with furniture.
However, some parents have urged the wealthy individuals and corporate organisations to construct additional classrooms to decongest schools across the state.
Mr Abdulwahab Seed, a parent, said that, “the schools are in good condition, the only problem is congestion. Private sector involvement in the provision of more classrooms will help a lot.
“The school where my children attend have challenge of congestion with about 70 children per class,”
He said that private sector involvement would go a long to raise standard of education in the region. (