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State of emergency stalls education in the North-East

By Amaka Abayomi & Umar Yusuf

The state of emergency declared in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states due to the activities of insurgents, is now over three months with no end in sight.

Moments after the imposition of emergency rule, social and economic activities were initially paralysed, including the education sector. Things picked up later, but at a slow pace.

The education sector in Adamawa State hasn’t suffered any set back since the imposition of the emergency. Rather, the enrolment of school aged children into schools has been on the increase as schools are running their normal curricula and teachers and students go to school without fear of attacks by insurgents.

However, the same cannot be said of neighbouring Borno State as statistics from the state’s Ministry of Education put the number of children that have stopped attending classes since February 2013, as the insurgents continued waves of attacks on state schools, at over 15,000.

One of the burnt school buildings in Maiduguri
One of the burnt school buildings in Maiduguri

So far, over 50 of Borno State’s 175 schools have either been burnt or destroyed, several teachers and students have been killed or maimed while the lucky ones are either at home for fear of attacks or have transferred to private Islamic schools.

Some of the schools undergoing renovation by the state government have been set ablaze, thus, sabotaging government’s efforts at improving on education in Borno State.

Worst-affected are schools in old Maiduguri city and local government areas of Marte, Kala-Balge, Gamboru Ngala and Mabar, and this led to the influx of students to safer areas to take their May/June exams, protected by a heavy military detail.

Despite this measure, three WAEC officials were brutally murdered by gunmen on their way from Yola, the Adamawa State capital, to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, during the conduct of the last WAEC examinations. As a result, some students had their results withheld.

Officers of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) patrolling  in Maiduguri in a sweeping offensive against Boko Haram militants.  AFP PHOTO/
Officers of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) patrolling in Maiduguri in a sweeping offensive against Boko Haram militants.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, some principals and teachers in Adamawa State said the trend will set back the affected students. They equally called for necessary measures to be put in place to address the situation.

“WAEC and the ministries of education in the affected states should, as a matter of urgency, put a machinery in place to address the issues and appeal for restraint on the side of the affected students and schools,” they said.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer, WAEC, Mr. Ari Yusufu, said the affected students would retake the exams during the November/December diet which would still be conducted in the affected states, though with better security.

In spite of the presence of security personnel in Borno State, parents and children are still skeptical about returning to school for fear of attacks.

Speaking the minds of many parents and students, Adamu Mustafa, whose son was a student of one of the torched schools, said though he wants his children to have western education, “it’s difficult for them to properly understand what they are being taught or the teacher to be in the best frame of mind because all they would be thinking of is their safety.”


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