I visited about 8 schools in Jigawa over a week and the photos below demonstrate the horrendous situation that the education system is faced with here (and I had a feeling that they were trying to show me the best of what they had).
This is a photo of a Year 6 class from a boarding school in the main town. There were 128 children in the class. They had to sit through 2 hours and 20 minutes of lessons before they were served breakfast. One of the other Year 6 classes that we visited in this school didn’t have a teacher, so this many children were just sat alone, waiting. . . Amazingly the head teacher didn’t seem to even realise there was no teacher until I asked where they were!
This is a class of around 100 nursery and Year 1 children from a rural school. It’s no wonder that when I and 4 other Nigerians swarmed into their classroom that it began a cascade of crying. They stopped fairly promptly when shouted at by the other adults. The concrete floor the children are sat on is in such a dreadful state, but actually this is an extremely minor element of the crisis these children are facing with their education.
This PE lesson (!!!) was typical of their teaching for all lessons. Words or sentences are written on the chalkboard and the children just chant them after the teacher, followed by very long explanations. Then a child is invited to the front to read the words and the class chants after the child. Following this they copy the writing from the board into their exercise books (if they have them). From what I saw, this seems to happen for all subjects, all the time.
Although I had heard and read much about the schools it still didn’t prepare me for seeing it in the flesh. What I saw was unbelievably and incredibly heartbreaking. Nothing remotely like schools as I know them. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.