Despite the declaration of free and compulsory basic education in Adamawa State, some errant principals in Numan and Maiha local governments of the state still charge students beyond what is legally allowed, senior program officer, African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development (Center LSD) Lawal Amodu has disclosed.
Amodu who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Yola, Friday, to highlight the achievements and challenges faced by the Community Led Collective Action for Girlchild Education (C-CAGE) in the past few months said, if left unchecked, the development has the capacity to tarnish the good intention of the government for free education and discourage enrollment.
Center LSD in conjunction with Malala Fund has through the C-CAGE embarked on a two year project to enhance enrollment of the girlchild back into schools following slant enrolment against them.
The senior program officer who did not disclosed the identity of the principals called on the government to urgently uplift the standards of schools in the hinterland noting that most schools in the interior villages are far behind, especially in communities of Song LGA.
“The deputy speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly has championed the motion to end hidden fees and encourage girl child education. We are glad that Adamawa State government is responding to our call with renovations of schools across the state as well as recruitment of teachers but there is more to be done.
” Despite the campaign by government authorities on free education in the state, most schools in the interior villages are far behind particularly in communities of Song LGA.
“Our campaign against hidden fees has led the state government to make a statement on the issue through the ministry of education as well as the motion on the floor of the Adamawa State House of Assembly against such charges, however, there are some errant principals in Numan and Maiha that are still charging students beyond what is legally allowed. This situation has the capacity to tarnish the good intention of government for free education and discourage enrollment in school,” he said.
Amodu while enumerating the plight of Government Girls’ Secondary School Pare, in Numan LGA noted that the school which has the carrying capacity of over 500 students is currently having 17 students and 7 teachers including the principal adding that it has been reeling amidst neglect and desolate infrastructure.
“Additionally, C-CAGE has been able to identify and draw attention of relevant stakeholders to a government girls’ secondary school in Pare community in Numan which was estimated to accommodate over 500 students but currently have its total number of students at 17 and 7 teachers including the principal with obvious dilapidated infrastructure.
” In an era where discourse of out of schoolgirls has gained traction, we believe strongly that such an institution should be deliberately targeted to admit a very good number of the out of schoolgirls in the area.
“Some of our media partners have helped to bring this issue to the limelight for government attention. Nevertheless, we still want to use this opportunity to renew the call on the state government to pay special attention to revamping government girls’ secondary school Pare in its 2022 budget,” he said.
He noted that the enrollment of the girlchildren into school has tremendously increased in the last few months from 960 to 1221 presently.
“As at today, the total schoolgirls enrolled by the project is 1221 away from the initial figure of 960. This figure is expected to increase in the coming weeks because of the massive mobilization efforts of the community gate keepers who feel obliged to ensure that out of schoolgirls in their communities go to school,” Amodu said.
He noted that in the last five months the C-CAGE has ensured the creation of additional nine safe spaces in Numan, Song and Maiha LGAs where they project is being implemented.