By Emmanuel Edukugho
JubailI Bros Enginering Ltd, has come to the rescue of Opebi Senior Grammar School Students whose collapsing classrooms block posed serious threat to their lives. The company consequently built six classrooms block and donated the structure to the school as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to the community.
It was the happiest day for the school as the General Manager of Jubaili Bros Mr. Nabil Sleiman cut the tape to declare the complex open and handed the keys to Mrs. Funmi O. Opaleye, Director, Personnel Matters, Education District VI, Oshodi, with the principal, teachers and representative of the Ministry of Education watching in admiration.
The importance of education is seen to have overshadowed the environment in which learning takes place as regards to structure and design of schools that are mostly make-shift, constituting serious danger to lives of students.
People hardly bother about the pathetic, deplorable, horrific, awful, catastrophic and life-threatening structures in which our children study.
Most of the classrooms in Nigerian schools are dilapidated, sub-standard, unfit for human habitation, gradually collapsing – and seemed like an accident waiting to happen. Cases of school buildings that have collapsed killing children have been reported in some parts of Nigeria and other countries.
The greatest danger in our education system today is that this nation has failed to face up to the nature of the threat posed by decay of infrastructure and dilapidated classroom buildings in public and private schools.
Thousands, if not millions of our children at kindagarten, nursery, primary, secondary and even tertiary institutions are receiving their education in unconducive environments of degradation, squalor, subjugation, inhospitable to decency and threat to their well-being.
Nigeriaâ€™s future depends upon these young people who must be well educated and trained in a more humane, dignified and satisfying environment in order to assume the challenges of the future, to help write the agenda for Nigeria.
Not necessarily because of the huge costs involved in building safe and functional school buildings, government leaders and officials glorify in mismanaging, diverting, stealing, misusing funds meant for infrastructural development and provision of facilities.
In other climes, for every old blackboard, there are now thousands of new electronic computers and laptops. For every old school building, hundreds state-of-the-art, well furnished with desks, chairs, buildings are being constructed.
Government must avoid the impulse to live only for today, pursuing selfish interest of political leaders, plundering for their own comfort, precious resources of tomorrow.
We cannot mortgage the material well-being of our children required for the acquisition of good, quality education.
The effort of Jubaili Bros Engineering Limited in building a block of six classrooms at Opebi Senior Grammar School and donating the structure to the school is like a drop in the ocean, considering the massive dilapidation and decay of infrastructure in our educational system.
According to the General Manager, Mr. Nabil Sleiman, in a solemn, low-key ceremony of the handing over of the school to the Lagos State Government, â€œthe donation is part of our contribution to the community as we care for the education and welfare of the people.â€
He said Jubaili Bros has not wasted its money in building the block of classrooms, but that the gesture was meant to â€œpromote education in the country of which our company can also benefit.â€
There can be no other way of demonstrating the much talked about Corporate Social Responsibility Philosophy of companies than this – meeting the need of the community in terms of education.
Before the interviention of Jubaili Bros, a company dealing on generators, the walls of the school have collapsed, roofs leaking, as many of the roofing sheets blown off, yet students are still there receiving instructions from teachers.
The remaining parts of the walls still hanging dangerously could threaten the lives of the students. In fact, the building is just waiting to collapse. And what about if it happens when the students are inside the classrooms?
One can imagine the tragedy the collapse will cause.
Other companies that are true to their corporate social responsibility can also do what Jubaili Bros has done at Opebi Senior Secondary School by rebuilding structures that pose danger to the lives of pupils and students.
As rightly pointed out by Mrs. Funmi O. Opaleye, Director, Personnel Matters, Education District VI, Oshodi, while receiving the keys of the new building, â€œeducation has through time remained the societyâ€™s greatest asset that could be handed down to generations born and yet unborn, and as such, the responsibilities involved in meeting the imposing challenges of educating the society have also remained enormous both on the shoulders of Government and the people.â€
She quoted from a United States Journalist, Thomas A. Stewart (1948) who said, â€œIntellectual Capital is the sum of everything everybody in a company knows that gives it a competitive edge.â€
On behalf of the Lagos State Government, Opaleye thanked Jubaili Bros for donating the block of six classrooms at Opebi Senior Grammar School.