By Hassan Zaggi
The installation of water and toilet facilities have dramatically increased the enrolment of children in Anuli Community School, Ezenifite, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
This is however a twist from the bait used to attract children to enroll and remain in school in some parts of the country.
In some parts of the country, for example, in the north, food through the School Feeding Programme and cash through the Cash Transfer Programme (CPT) are used to increase the enrolment and retention of children in schools.
Findings showed that in Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger states where the CTP is being implemented by UNICEF in partnership with UKAID and Catar Foundation, enrolment in schools have increased far beyond the carrying capacity of most schools in the states.
In a recent visit to Goronyo Primary School in Sokoto state, since its establishment in 1970, the population of the school has always hover around 300 pupils, however, following the CTP intervention, the population of the school has increased to 1,170 population comprising of 575 boys and 595 girls.
Responding to a question from The AUTHORITY, the head teacher of the Anuli Community School, Ezenifite, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mrs Francisca Onyebuchi, said that prior to the installation of the water and toilet facilities, the five- room toilet that existed in the school was a near death trap.
According to her, since the installation of the water and toilet facilities which was an intervention of the European Union (EU) and Anambra state government in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the enrolment figure has risen to over 300 from the 140 pupils.
“Since the installation of the water and toilet facilities, the school enrolment has increased tremendously. The parents too have agreed to release their children to come to school.
“Before the toilet was installed, the children do go to toilet in the bush and the existing ones about five rooms were already death traps.
“Before the water and toilet facilities were installed, we had about 140 pupils, but now we have more than 300 pupils. Neatness of our pupils have changed and they no more come to school late,’ the head mistress said.
Speaking with The AUTHORITY on why the pupils reacted different to the interventions, an Abuja-based educationist, Silas Umar, said: “This is not a new thing. It all depends on the value of the people of a particular region to education.
“For example, if you take the same facilities from the Anambra community to a community in the far north, you will not see any pupil in the school. This also means that as a people, we need to change our priority towards education.
“The government must be sensitive to the values of people of any part of the country before giving them any intervention in terms of improving education enrolment.”