Kano: Poorest Education for the Poor By Dr. Marzuq Abubakar Ungogo
This is Kano. It is 10 am Nigerian time and Jamila (not real name) is already returning homeward from school in company of her friends. They are done and dusted for the day. It was roughly two hours from the time I first saw them this morning going in opposite direction. They didn’t sneaked out of school. They didn’t break any rule. This is their official closing time on Friday. They are luckier Mondays to Thursdays with additional two hours before they leave to pave way for another batch of students to use their dilapidated classes and other barely existent school facilities.
Jamila’s case is not an exception but the current trend for many public schools in Kano. This infamous and wicked plan started during the inglorious days of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau’s administration to respond to the large number of students and inadequate schools. The policy makers whose children attend private schools believed that government shouldn’t worry with building more schools for the children of the poor and conjured up a shallow solution that any overcrowded primary and secondary school can divide their students into two and half will study between 8am to 12pm while the other half utilise the hours between 12:30 and 4:30pm. For Holy Fridays, two hours are enough for each batch of students. Problem solved! (Soared?)
This nonsense continues through Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s administration of superficial aesthetics. Nobody cares! What shall it benefit a political government to build sufficient primary and secondary schools for the children of the poor when it can do other more visible things that can easily be flaunted with the money? Who will celebrate or be impressed with building of primary schools? It is too early to judge Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and one can only hope this gets to his ears since all indications are pointing that he is still sorting out what he will do for Kano. May he include this in his list.
While Jamila and her friends are using four unqualitative hours to study under unqualified teachers with dilapidated facilities, the children of corrupt and enriched government officials are in school between 8am to 5pm. The trouble is that Jamila is supposed to be assessed with those “yan makarantar lilo” using same marking scheme in future! Haba! Certainly she needs all the luck in the world to pass the Federal Government Colleges’ entrance exam. She is most likely going to attend another Kano public school for her secondary education and it is only by Allah’s miracle that she will not be among the 70% who flunk WASSCE annually. Will she even attempt to write the UTME? Only Allah knows!
What has Jamila done to deserve such cruelty and discrimination? May be she’s being punished for her parents’ crime, the crime of being poor.
Dr. Marzuq Ungogo is Veterinary Practitioner based in Kano and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org