By CharleskumOlu and Indahi Marmara
UNBELIVEBLE! This is certainly how it would sound to many people. How could it have been true, others may ask.
But whether you are in a state of unbelief or not, Saturday Vanguard can authoritatively reveal that most of the released Chibok school girls can hardly speak English.
Indeed, as you read along, you will ponder and arrive at some conclusions on why students, who were in Senior Secondary School class three as of the time of their abduction by Boko Haram insurgents, could not speak English.
While indications to this effect emerged when the Minster of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan received 82 Chibok girls, findings by Saturday Vanguard across the states in the Northeast geopolitical zone produced more shocking revelations.
She had said that her Ministry would ensure the girls learnt how to speak English so they could be able to sit for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations.
To achieve this, it was learnt that the Federal Government has concluded plans to enroll the girls in junior secondary school class three.
It was gathered that the poor standard of education in Northern Nigeria made the inability of the girls to speak English possible.
Saturday Vanguard learnt that the girls like many in that part of Nigeria lacked quality education right from primary school.
For instance, in Chibok and other communities in Borno, there is no nursery school.
Students were often enrolled directly into primary schools, so long as they had attained the age of 10 or 12.
Also, in most cases, the teachers were not adequately remunerated while lessons were done in unconducive environments.
Similarly, most of the public schools lack teaching materials, depriving the teachers and students the opportunity to learn, embark on research and development.
Most of the teachers resort to using vernacular especially when teaching subjects like physics and chemistry.
In most cases, vernacular was used as the official communication means while conducting assemblies and town hall meetings.
Likewise, the poor financial status of parents and guardians was found to be another factor.
For instance, in Chibok community, there is no single private school, students who could even afford to be enrolled into private schools travel to Maiduguri, Adamawa and Gombe for quality education.
Another factor is the method of employing teachers in the Borno State Teaching Service Board, (TSB) which is characterised by favouritism.
In one of his interviews, the state governor, Kashim Shettima admitted thus: “In 2011 WAEC examinations, only three students at one of the government secondary schools in Borno North Senatorial District were able to pass five credits. Unfortunately, those lucky three students were not indigenes of the state, as their fathers were serving soldiers at Monguno Military barracks then”.
A teacher in Chibok, who identified himself as Mr. Amos Dawi said, “Apart from the poor quality of teaching materials as well as unqualified teachers, the students themselves are not helping matters, as most of them devote their interest to farming instead of dedicating themselves into learning.
“More so, it will interest you to note that government girls secondary school, Chibok and other schools in the state have no English or Mathematic teachers.”
Also, an educationist, Dr. James John attributed the problem to lack of training and retraining of teachers by the Borno State Teaching Service Board.
He said teachers mostly those living in the rural areas attend workshops.
An escaped schoolgirl who pleaded anonymous for security reasons told our Correspondent thus:”Another major reason is the current trauma which the girls are undergoing. Each time we open our mouth to speak English, we believe the Boko Haram terrorists are still watching us, so we quickly switch to our dialect or Hausa language which is our dominant language in the north without realizing it. Boko Haram hates anything Western Education and English language is one of them.”