The Delta Government has called for the assistance of communities in the protection and security of educational infrastructure in the state.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, made the call in a telephone interview with the Newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ebie identified vandalism and theft of public school facilities by miscreants as a big challenge confronting basic and secondary education in the state.
He said, “One of the problems we have today is the high rate of theft and burglary in our schools.
“Every week we get reports on that, in addition to land encroachment by communities. We have security men guarding public schools in the state but they are not armed.
“Government cannot do it alone; this is why communities should assist in proper policing of public schools in their domains otherwise the situation will remain.’’
On Okome Primary School, Edjemuonyavwe-Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area, where pupils were shown in photographs, sitting on the floor in classrooms to learn, Ebie said the government was looking into it.
He said, “you have drawn my attention to the situation, so we are looking into it.
“We have over 1,000 primary schools in the state, and it is expected that some of them will have dilapidated structures. We are trying hard to attend to as many as possible.
“We are in the process of distributing furniture to schools in Ethiope West under the constituency project of the state lawmaker from the area.
“I am sure that particular school will benefit from it.’’
Head Teacher of the school, Mr Lucky Adjigbere, who confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, told NAN that the situation was “very bad’’.
“There are eight classroom blocks in the school; three were renovated by the state government in 2011 while the remaining five are dilapidated and seriously begging for renovation.
“The renovated blocks have been vandalised by miscreants, with their windows, ceilings, furniture as well as register and other vital school documents carted away.
“Out of about 1,350 pupils in the school, less than 100 have seats which are provided by their parents. The rest sit on the floor with mats, sacks and their school bags,’’ he said.
Adjigbere said the vandalism was carried out mostly at night, adding that the five official security men guarding the school were ineffective due to old age.
He explained that he had drawn the attention of the host community, the state government and the school’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA) to the situation.
When contacted, the PTA Chairman, Mr Samson Iburu, said the association was putting security measures in place in collaboration with the community, to protect the school.
Iburu blamed incessant vandalism of public schools in the community on low orientation among the people toward public facilities.
“The problem here is the low mentality of our people. They don’t have the understanding that maintenance and security of public facilities is a collective responsibility,’’ he said.
He, however, disclosed that 500 chairs for the pupils were supplied to the school on Monday.