Before Mrs Obi Ezekwesili left as Minister of Education, she
initiated the Adopt-A-School programme. She was just about to create
broad support for the initiative when she had to take on an
international appointment. Since then, many of the companies that
agreed to participate in the programme are yet to do so. Therefore,
the public schools are still waiting to be adopted.
Essentially, the idea behind the Adopt-A- School programme can be
seen as a form of Private Public Sector Partnership. A number of
private companies agreed to refurbish public primary and secondary
schools in their domain. Oando Nigeria Plc, for example, agreed to
adopt some public schools around the country.
According to Bimbo Okoya of Oando Corporate Affairs Division, Oando
has started to keep its promise. Recently, Oando was in Calabar for
its Annual General Meeting. The company used the opportunity to
formally present a primary school it intends to refurbish. “Our
consultants, engineers, architects and other experts connected with
building are working on the cost of the project and, as soon as we
get their reports, we will start full reconstruction of the school,”
she told Vanguard in an interview.
Miss Okoya said Oando, as at now, does not want to make much noise
on how far it has gone. She, however, assured stakeholders that as a
reliable and people friendly corporate body, people trust us that we
will deliver on our promises.
Vanguard investigation also revealed that many of the banks and
manufacturing companies involved in the Adopt-A-School programme are
also at the preliminary stages of their involvement. A source in
First Bank, who spoke anonymously, said, “we have always been at the
forefront of social responsibility in education. But, we just can't
start building or rebuilding schools until we have done all the
necessary preparations. For example, it would require consultation
with the authorities of the schools that we can agree on how we can
meet their needs. We have already consulted with some school
authorities and we are at the planning stages. You know this is not
the first time First Bank has made significant contribution to the
Therefore, our support for the Adopt-A- School programme is a
continuation of our tradition as an education friendly bank. If you
go round our campuses in this country, definitely, you will see what
First Bank has done.”
It appears, however, that it is only in Lagos and environs that
corporate bodies have started to take steps to fulfill their
promises. Outside Lagos, many of the State Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs)
that are supposed to partner corporate bodies are not even aware of
the existence of the programme.
In Oyo, Kwara, Ekiti, Ogun, Rivers and Kano States, sources in SUBEB
said they have not even received any official communication on the
According to Mrs Titi Olofin, Executive Secretary, Oyo SUBEB, who
spoke to Vanguard in Ibadan, she said “as far as I know, the
programme is more of a street kind of thing. We have not received
any policy paper on it. May be if you go to the Ministry of
Education, they may have received information which they are
intending to pass on to us.”
While the present Federal Minister of Education is trying to settle
down, stakeholders are waiting for what the ministry is going to do
on some of the reforms and initiatives of Mrs Obi Ezekwesili.
Close to its first hundred days in office, the Federal Ministry of
Education and, indeed, the Presidency are yet to make fundamental
policy pronouncements on education. The effect of the poor start,
which this administration has made in the area of education, is that
public schools keep suffering from inadequate funding.
Promises of support and adoption made by a few corporate bodies are
yet to materialise, so, there is yet no silver lining for the public
schools. All around the country, the result is that pupils learn
under terrible conditions.
As Umoru Henry found out in Abuja, pupils in primary schools
scattered around the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, still learn
under trees. They sit on bare floor while learning. The ugly
scenario is rearing its head in spite of the huge capital expended
on education sector by the immediate past administration of the FCT
and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) board.
Vanguard investigation shows that most of the affected schools are
directly under the Local Education Authority (LEA) situated in all
the six Area Councils. Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari
Area Council have a record of the highest number of pupils sitting
on bare floor.
At LEA Lugbe, located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Road, quite a
large number of students do not have chairs, desks and tables to use
while in the school. In addition to lack of chairs, desks and
tables, the schools have no toilet facilities. The Head Girl of the
school, Miss Rashidat Abubakar, in response to the situation, called
on FCT authorities to come to the aid of public schools in the area.
“Our public schools in the FCT area need urgent attention, she told
Vanguard.” While stakeholders are praying for improvement in the
fortunes of the public schools, some state government are
responding. Lagos State, for example, has voted N500 million for
repair of 166 public schools. According to Director of Projects for
Rehabilitation of Public Schools, Mr. Olugbemiga Abudiore, the
schools include 51 primary schools, 43 junior secondary school and
72 senior secondary schools.
Other states would have to emulate the example of Lagos before
public schools can get significant upliftment.