When we first embarked on our Books Behind Bars Project, – the establishment of libraries and functional education programs in adult and juvenile prisons in Nigeria, little did we know that we would be drawn into establishing libraries in public schools. In fact, we did not know that many of our primary and secondary schools, located right in our cities, like the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had no libraries and basic infrastructure. Perhaps, like many Nigerians, we were unaware of the realities that characterise and deeply set apart the rich and the powerful away from the weak and the poor in Nigeria.
But we received three pallets of primary school books and decided to reach out to schools. Three public primary schools have benefited so far and we are set to expand.
One of the benefiting schools and perhaps the neediest of them all is the LEA Nurudeen Nursery and Primary School, Karu, Abuja. Located opposite St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Karu, along Karshi Road, it was established on the 10th of December 2009, and has a population of about four hundred and ninety six (496) pupils, all of whom are Muslims. The Head teacher told us that the pupils are from very poor background and most of them are orphans. The pictures reveal this fact.
In addition, the school has very poor staff strength, just 12 teachers, leading to the merging of some classes. At the time of compiling this report, they were about 150 pupils in a class. The Head teacher and the teachers told our staff that it has been impossible to teach. Our staff who compiled this report confirmed that she could not move around the class because it was too full, with some pupils sitting on the bare floor and many sleeping. Our camera could not capture the whole class in a picture.
The school is in a dire need of teachers, about 10, according to the Head teacher to split the classes so that teaching and learning can take place. But it has other needs too including water, computers, and furniture such as table, chairs for pupils and teachers, as well as sporting equipment, among others.
CURE-Nigeria has recruited more 10 graduate interns to teach in the school at the moment, while permanent solution is being sought with respect to teachers.