Sorry tales as monitors report on UBEC projects

Independent monitors trained by the Human Development Initiatives (HDI) shared sad tales of the sorry state of some public primary and junior secondary schools in 11 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) of Lagos State Monday.

The monitoring teams, made up of volunteers passionate about education in the LGEAs, shared findings of various visits to the schools to monitor the implementation of the 2018 Action Plan for projects funded by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). They had been trained last December for what to look out for while monitoring projects in the action plan.

The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) got N2.94 billion to spend on construction of classrooms, rehabilitation of schools, provision of furniture, provision of sporting equipment, provision of water, agricultural products in 45 of its 1,016 primary schools.

“The main reason why we monitor Universal Basic Education projects is to ensure all school-aged children in Lagos State receive quality basic education,” she said.

Presenting their reports at the HDI headquarters in Yaba, Lagos, many monitors reported poor implementation of contracts in some places as well as additional needs of the schools not covered by the action plan. They also reported cases where projects were in progress or had been completed.  However, the negative reports were more than the positive reports.

The team from Ojo LGEA reported that furniture expected in the project schools were yet to be supplied; boreholes being dug substandard, while school buildings were in bad state.

The team from Kosofe LGEA reported that the premises of the Lady-lak Primary School, Bariga, had been turned into a refuse dump by hawkers because the school structure had been demolished for reconstruction, which has not begun.  In the meantime, the monitor lamented that the pupils were inconvenienced managing at nearby Ayinke Primary School.

“Ladylak Primary School has been demolished for years.  The children were relocated to Ayinke Primary School, where they have no access to water; no toilets; four classes are crashed into one because of no accommodation,” a monitor said.

At Ibeju-Lekki, monitors reported that schools such as Oriyanrin Primary School, and St Peters Anglican Primary School, Magbon-Alade, were being encroached upon because they lacked perimeter fences.

Head of the team, Mrs. Funmilola Sojinu also lamented that conflict in the community over land resulted in damage to Oriyanrin Primary School building and put the lives of its pupils in jeopardy.

Monitors from Eti-osa LGEA lamented that no school in their jurisdiction was mentioned in the plan despite so many being in need of intervention.

A monitor, Mrs. Blessing Osuji, said one of the schools, Ireti Primary School, Falomo, near Ikoyi Prison, was in such state of disrepair that it was in danger of collapsing.

“I could not believe the school was still in use. The roofs have blown away; no windows or doors.  The place is just like an abandoned building.  When it rains, they share the children to two other schools in the compound,” she said.

At Ideal Primary School Agege, the monitors noticed that the fencing project had been suspended by SUBEB because the contractors dug a shallow foundation, made no provision for pillars, and prepared to use inferior blocks.

“The contractor told us that about 10,000 blocks was going to waste because of the rejection; that he would go to beg at SUBEB to allow him resume the project and promised to replace the blocks with better ones,” a monitor said.

Monitors from Apap, Surulere, Amuwo-Odofin, Somolu and Ajerom-Ifelodun also shared reports about state of projects in their areas.

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