By Esther Atani, The Sight News
ABUJA: In 2017, deteriorating infrastructure, polluted water, unhygienic and infected food handlers and lack of basic sanitation facilities put 1,222 students at risk leading to the death of three students in Queen’s College, an all girls school in Lagos— an unfortunate event that was a direct result of a lack of transparency in the education sector in Nigeria.
This was expressed by the Director of Public Policy Initiative of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Mr Amara Nwakpa, at the policy forum held in Abuja on Tuesday, November 26.
The policy forum, he said, was aimed at getting all stakeholders involved in the elimination of structural deficiencies bedeviling Nigeria’s basic education system.
He stated that a clear proof of corruption in a system is a lack of accountability and transparency, emphasizing that there is a need for improved health service delivery in the basic education sector.
Also speaking on the state of health in schools, the Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Dr. Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, expressed sadness that according to a report by WaterAid Nigeria, only 50 percent of schools have access to water and basic sanitation facilities making schools poor environments for learning.
She called on Nigerians to move away from the viewpoint of blame and instead, hold the appropriate officials accountable during the discharge of their duties.
Meanwhile, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, the President of The Queen’s College Old Girls Association, called for an overhaul of dilapidated and obsolete infrastructure present in schools, lamenting the lack of monitoring and maintenance culture found among school administrators.
She expressed the need for collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education, primary and secondary schools, to formulate a plan that would revitalize the nation’s education system.
Citing the 2015 UNESCO education report on Nigeria, she stated that healthful school environments are an integral part of improving the standard of education.
Also, the founder of Cable Newspaper, Simon Kolawole, who was represented by Ms Abiose Adams, called for a culture of openness, urging school administrators to see the media -not as antagonists – but as stakeholders in the improvement of education in Nigeria.
The forum, supported by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Cable Newspaper Foundation was held to celebrate the upcoming World Anti-Corruption Day to be marked on the 8th of December.