Many teachers in Nigeria are struggling to provide the quality of education they feel their students deserve. As a result, they are asking for the government to help. In addition, many are starting to ask questions about how the money from the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI) is being spent. Teachers from Halifield schools in the state of Lagos are asking the government for help. Specifically, they are requesting that the government improve and modernize both the public and private facilities to allow schools to improve learning. The Upper Elementary Coordinator of the school, Mr. Abass Morayo, is concerned with the current quality of education in the country. He suggests that the government institutes a program for training teachers. Currently, he feels that teachers aren’t as motivated as they could be and aren’t putting their best effort in to train the upcoming generation. His solution is that teachers would be more productive through external motivation like paying salaries on-time.
Thirty million dollars was raised for the SSI
which operates in north-eastern Nigeria. It was started in 2014 with support
from the United Nations to be able to provide safe schools for the students in
this region as well as humanitarian aid. There are ongoing attacks which make
it a struggle to get contractors to build schools due to safety risks, which
increases the costs of building, says the communications chief for the
Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative, Alkasim Abdullkadir. Due
to the continued attacks and lack of progress, many are starting to question
how the money is being spent, with Nigerian lawmakers suggesting a probe to
promote accountability and transparency. Mohammed Lamin, the commissioner for
Yobe’s Ministry of Education stated: “It is unfortunate [that], up until now,
they have not done anything for us in terms of providing some security measures
to be taken in our schools.” Instead, the state government has been responsible
for this. The SSI reported that most of the money has been used to move more
than 2000 students to schools in safer areas, in some cases as much as 160
kilometers from home. However, many of these students are now being schooled at
internally displaced camps (IDPs) which have been in existence for ten years,
although they were not intended to be permanent.
There has been some progress. UNICEF has provided nine million dollars for the SSI to upgrade classrooms, and provide teacher security training, to be implemented by the Borno State Education Board. In the town of Dapchi, where Boko Haram fighters kidnapped more than 100 students, more security has been added. However, there are not enough police to guard schools causing educators to have to pay for security guards from their salary. Even Babagana Goni Ali, who works with the Borno State Basic Education Board states that SSI money could be managed more effectively. There is work to be done to make schools safe and to provide quality education to students, particularly in Northern Nigeria.