By Ikenna Asomba
FOR several years, some schools in the Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, have been faced with apparent neglect of infrastructural and learning facilities, a situation which residents have continuously drawn the attention of successive administrations to.
One of such schools is the Festac Junior Grammar School, FJGS, Festac Town, where no fewer than 945 students are currently learning under a dilapidated block of classrooms with roofs almost caving in.
During a visit to schools in the council area, last week, Vanguard gathered some other schools such as Festac College, Festac Girls Senior College, Imoye Secondary School, Amuwo Odofin Secondary School, Amuwo High School, Technical College Ado Soba and Amuwo Odofin Community Secondary School are faced with similar challenges bordering on dearth of teachers, inadequate books in their library and dearth of laboratory equipment.
At the Festac Senior Grammar School, founded on Thursday, November 7, 1985, and commissioned by Prof. Akin Osiyale, former Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Akoka, they lacked books in their library, even as the computer laboratory with about 20 desktop computers are running on obsolete Microsoft windows.
When Vanguard visited the Biology and Physics laboratories, they were fraught with inadequate specimen and non-functional equipment. Also, at Festac Girls Senior College, its hall was in a decrepit state, even as the security unit building was almost caving in.
The FJGS, Vanguard gathered, was founded in 2003 during the second term tenure of former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. At that time, the state government broke-away JSS1-3 from the Senior Secondary Schools, to eradicate over-crowding in schools, as well as to enable easy and efficient learning atmosphere.
The school newly built then by the Tinubu administration through the Eko Project, were two blocks of classrooms with library, introductory technology laboratory, computer laboratory, principal’s office and staff office.
During the visit, the school structure has apparently become deplorable with its roof almost caving in on the students during lectures.
Speaking to some of the students of FJGS, Vanguard gathered that there are inadequate text books in the library, even as books available are allegedly out of date with today’s school curriculum. The introductory technology laboratory, Vanguard observed was littered with broken chairs and decrepit equipment.
Other major challenges faced by the school children, Vanguard learnt, were the deplorable state of their toilet facilities, faulty computers in their computer laboratory, as well as inadequate subjects teachers.
A JSS2 student, Saidat, who lamented the decrepit state of facilities in their school, said the roof of their classroom was already caving, adding that their toilet facility was also a write-off and poses great health danger to them.
Another JSS2 student, Jimoh, said: “We offer over 17 subjects, but of all these subjects, we have no teachers for the six of them. They include Agricultural Studies, Computer Studies, French Language Studies, Yoruba Language Studies, Christian Religious Studies and Business Studies.
“Even subjects like Civic Education, English Language, Mathematics, Introductory Technology, Basic Education, Fine Arts, Social Studies, Islamic Religious Studies, Igbo Language Studies and Physical Health Education, which we have teachers, we feel they are not adequate.
I am appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to employ more teachers in our school, so that more than one teacher will be handling each of the subjects. This will certainly ease the work-load on our teachers, and as well will enable them teach us effectively.’’
However, speaking to Vanguard, Hon. Olorunrinu Dipo, lawmaker, representing Amuwo-Odofin Constituency I, at the Lagos State House of Assembly, who paid familiarisation visit to the public schools, said it was to see the state of facilities in them, and to see how intervention could be done to them.
He said: “We have seen that most of the public schools in our Council area lack teaching and learning facilities. The laboratories and libraries are not up-to-date. Although, successive administrations of the state have tried through various intervention projects and programmes, but there is a lot to be done.
Having visited the schools, we have seen for ourselves those area we can proffer solutions to when legislative activities take full gear, especially after the appointment of commissioners by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
“This is not the time to play politics. It’s absurd to play politics with people’s lives, especially these young ones, who we are seeing as leaders of tomorrow. This is time for service, not politics. So, irrespective of the political differences, we will see what we can do to come together to better the lives of these students.
“The ugly sight we saw in some of these schools is definitely an awakening call. Things are changing, and everybody is embracing that mantra change. We will see what we can do to the best of our abilities to see that these schools witness massive infrastructural facelift when legislative activities take full gear in the state,’’ he assured.