By Wisdom Acka
There are strong indications that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would soon commence construction of more class rooms and employ more teachers in order to decongest some of its schools.
FCT Education Secretary, Dr. Bala Mohammed Liman dropped this hint while speaking with a section of the media during inspection of resumption of schools in Abuja, last week. He noted that it was the obligation of the FCT Administration, through the Secretariat, to ensure maintenance of standards in the schools through adequate provision of infrastructure and services.
Dr. Liman said: “We need to do two things to decongest the schools -we need to build more class rooms and we need to have more teachers. We need to do these things together, and that is what we intend to do, and that is why we’ve asked each school and board to try and come up with their needs requirement so that we know exactly what we need.
“There is no point saying that we are going to do this or that, because we do not know exactly what each school requires.”
Responding to a question on whether the Secretariat has sufficient funds to carry out its laudable aspirations, Dr. Liman said: “We will find the funds -that is part of the sustainable funding that we are looking at. We have to find the funds, because it is something that we have to do. I think at the last retreat we had, we also talked about the cost -what we need to train each child. That will give us a clear idea of what exactly our funding needs are, and then it will give us an idea of where we are going.
“So we have to find the funds, it’s a moral obligation that we have; if not all of the funds, then a lot of it, to make sure that we reduce the congestion in some of our schools and increase the number of structures in many of our schools”.
Also speaking on the essence of the visit to the schools and findings made during the visit, Dr. Liman said: “Usually when schools resume, we go around to see how they are settling students’ resumption, teachers arrival; and whether they have some small niggling problems that we can try to fix immediately.
“I think we tried to kill two birds with one stone. There are some schools that we wanted to see their level of infrastructure. We wanted to see the level of work on the schools, especially Government Science Secondary School, Pyakasa in Maitama; it is a boarding school and it is one of our prime schools. We wanted to make sure that in our next budgetary proposals, we will include the projects so that we will complete them.
“The visits also give us an idea of different levels of priority needs in certain schools, for example, Pyakasa, it seems they don’t have enough Mathematics teachers, while some of the schools we visited have more than enough teachers….so we can prioritize the needs of certain schools so that we can meet some of their demands.
Principal, Government Secondary School, Apo Resettlement, Mrs. Okedo Helen Nkoli who also chatted with us expressed gratitude to the FCT Administration, the Education Secretariat and the Secondary Education Board for always meeting her school’s needs.
The Principal also spoke on the cleanliness and orderliness in her school, saying: “Personally I don’t joke with cleanliness. It is next to godliness. And when you get the staff close to you, whatever you say, they will do for you. You know, you can’t work alone. The teachers here are very cooperative and when I set up a plan, they work with me to achieve it.
“Education Secretariat is wonderful. Before I came here, we had an uncompleted building at the other side of the school, and the building is now completed. Of course, if they didn’t pay the contractor, he wouldn’t have done the job.
“The parents too are trying. We work along with the parents through the PTA. They make their contributions. So the Secretariat and Secondary Education Board are all good to us”.
There was a large turnout of students and teachers in all the schools visited by the Secretary and his team. The others were Governmenr Secondary School, Wuse Zone3, as well as Junior Secondary School and Festival Road Primary School, all in Area 10, Garki.