The downright negligent of our basic and secondary schools is a testament to how things have degenerated in the educational sector in Nigeria. As the sector battles from poor funding to total collapse of infrastructure and poor management, the safety of the young lives in the custody of school officials, according to TheCable’s investigation, are now constantly been threatened not just by insurgencies, but by the same school officials and management who ironically have the mandate to ensure their wellbeing.
Investigation into the operations of a federal government girls College by The Cable in Lantang Plateau state revealed certain obscenity perpetrated against the female students. From the allegations of school officials pimping students for five thousand naira to men outside of the school environment, to the unsecured female hostels and the absence of portable drinking water, safe food and hygiene.
Reacting to the details of the report on SayNo Campaign dorocorruption radio program on wazobia FM, Nigerians called for the sanitization of the sector, specifically for effective monitoring of school management; investigation and adequate sanctioning of corrupt school officials; and an end to exploitation and extortion of students and parents by school teachers and officials.
To ensure the above, parents, according to the representative of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA), Adeleke DamienMary, need to wake up to their responsibility of oversighting school officials and management, asking relevant questions, querying management decisions and demanding accountability from erring school officials and management.
DamienMary, noted that parents are often aloof to the predicaments of their children at school, which is why cases of child abuse and sexual exploitation go unchallenged. He implored parents not to take any form of abuse of their wards casually, but with vigour, demand swift sanction and justic.
According to Archibong Anderson, the National Coordinator of National Council of Child Rights Advocate of Nigeria (NACCRAN), there is a need for public sensitization on the Rights of the child. He stressed that parents, teachers and children themselves need a proper orientation on the Child Right Acts, the consequences for its violation and the need to report violators to the appropriate authorities making sure that appropriate sanction is administered, and justice is served.
The representative of the National Council of Women society, Princess Oluwayemisi, also condemned the predicaments of young Nigerians in public schools, especially, sexual exploitation of the younglings by school officials. She stressed that educating students and the society on the constituent of child abuse, its adverse physical, psychological and emotional implications and the necessity of reporting the crime, is key to ending the spate of abuse in public schools around the country. She noted that parents must not walk away but report such crimes and ensure it is decisively dealt with. She therefore urged all stakeholders to partner in creating awareness on the Child Right Acts, entrench it in school curriculum and advocate for its domestication in all states across the country.
While parents were admonished to become active participants in the education of their children, the ministry of education was charged to wake up to its responsibility of providing a conducive atmosphere of learning for Nigerians. Beyond prudently managing funds, the actual wellbeing and hygiene of students should be prioritized by the leadership of the sector.