By Funmilayo Adeyemi/Felicia Imohimi
Poor infrastructure and lack of furniture in some schools in Sokoto State have threatened the sustainability of the Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) introduced by UNICEF in 2014.
This followed an appeal to the government by the Management of New Rimawa Model Primary School, Goronyo Local Government Area, Sokoto State, to provide furniture for the school to sustain the programme in the locality.
Mrs Balekisu Garba, a class teacher in the school, made the appeal when UNICEF led the media on a field tour to the school to assess the progress of CTP in the area.
Garba, who decried the absence of furniture such as chairs, tables among other working materials in the school, emphasised that such gaps could discourage teachers, pupils and parents from partaking in the programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNICEF, in 2014, introduced the CTP in the northern states to increase enrollment of children in schools.
The project focuses on meeting the needs of the poor in the northern communities as well as encouraging children to go to school.
The project also targets caregivers, especially mothers, with the promise of sending their children to schools.
NAN reports that pupils of the school were seen sitting on floor while teaching was going on.
Some of the teachers were also communicating with the children in Hausa language.
Garba says, “No mother will like to see her child sitting on the floor while in the school.”
According to her, if government can provide us with the necessary facilities that will attract children and parents’ attention to key into western education, it will go a long way to improve productivity and enrollment.
“I am the class teacher of Primary three but as you can see I have no chair and table to work with.
“Even, the children are sitting on the floor, which is discouraging. In spite of all this gaps, large number of pupils on a daily basis still floods the school.
“We need assistance of the UNICEF in terms of classroom renovation, provision of chairs, tables and more teachers.
“Our children are willing to learn, likewise mothers are willing to bring their children to school, but human resources are not available,” Garba said.
Also, Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Headmaster of the school, said several appeal had been made to relevant government agencies for the provisions of infrastructure but attention had not been given.
Abubakar said there is also no school feeding plan for the children, adding that such programme would go a long way to enhance enrollment.
He said that the school had experienced tremendous increase in its enrollment of children but this increase had overstretched facilities on ground.
Mr Tsalha Liman, a parent, commended UNICEF for the initiative, pledging that he would continue to sustain the programme even after its expiration.
Liman also called on the government to be proactive in responding to the challenges in the school, saying that this would help children to access quality education.
A primary five pupil of the school, Mariam Maidabu, said the initiative had made it possible for her to return to school.
Maidabu said the CTP had also enable her parent to provide for her school materials such as books, socks, uniform and the rest, adding that this had also helped her willingness to go to school.
NAN reports that the school which was established in 1970 initially has the population of 300 pupils but has increased to a total of 1,170 populations comprising of 575 boys and 595 girls as a result of CTP intervention.
About 12 teachers were in the school serving children from 11 communities in the local government area.