Community ownership: A rescue to Out of School

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

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These are parents turned horticulturists to keep their children in school and facilitate enrollment of Out of school children in their communities.

They are collaborators from the same community from different walks of life.

Among them are traders , vocational practitioners, civil servants and other key agencies partnering under the aegis of School Based Management Committee ,SBMC.

School Based Management Committee, best described as a movement of key stakeholders in the Nigerian Education Sector, provides a platform for members of the community to own basic schools in their localities.

SBMC is also a scheme that gives opportunities to host community of schools to be involved in school governance ,based on regulation with elected but voluntary membership.

The committee ensures quality in the educational inputs and outcomes and also provides conducive learning environment.

In Ja’en Special Primary School in Gwale local government area of Kano State,Northwest Nigeria, the school established in 1974, with 42 pupils started with one block of two classes and three teachers.

Between 2009 when SBMC policy was domesticated by Kano State goverment and 2019, Ja’en SP school now records a total number of 4190 enrollments,out of which 2057 while female pupils are 2133.

The present population of the school is 24 classes with only 64 teachers managing the present school census.

Ja’en SP , runs two sessions but has deficit infrastructure and the challenge of tutors to meet the demand of teaching and learning of the pupils in the school and by extension the community.

These are challenges that the community has come to terms with hence the need for the intervention of the SBMC.

According to Tijjani Haladu Baraya,Kano State SBMC Chairman, “Before ,nobody cared about public schools within their communities,those days people felt any school within their area ,they simply say they were government property but today,our people now realize the schools located in their communities belong to them and not the government”

SBMC began in Nigeria in 2005 following the recommendation of the 52nd meeting of the National Council on Education.

Tijaniy narrated that the concept of SBMC is to give communities the chance to support schools within their community,the SBMC committee for instance in Kano State comprises  of 17 members drawn from traditional ,Religious Institutions,artisans, school pupils,teachers, community based organisations, and women organisations.

Baraya clarified that, “the role of SBMC and that of the Parent Teachers Association PTA are different as the PTA charges levies while the SBMC is an intervention,SBMC does not charge any member of the community it request money from the pupils “

“The SBMC only collaborates with the school authorities and prepare School Improvement plan SIP”.

“This plan is what the school uses within a period ,it consists of the School needs and costs” Baraya added.

The intervention which has gained momentum in Bauchi,Katsina,Sokoto ,Kano and Niger States with the support of the United Kingdom Department For International Development, DFID, and being implemented by UNICEF, is fast recording massive increase in enrollment in several schools .

The Chairman of Ja’en Special School, Kabir Ado Ja’en mentioned that the SBMC scheme in the school, set up school farm and flower garden, open to public patronage,car wash ,located on the fence of the Ja’en SP school and commercialized 10 thousand litres overhead water tanker .

According to Ado, “the SBMC identified planting of lettuce in our farm and sales of flower in the garden , we also established car wash as major source of income to sustain the school”.

According to him, “so far Ja’en SP has generated the sum of N1,242,000M ,out of this income we realised,3 blocks of 5 classes have been renovated and uniforms are being provided for pupils free of charge ,SBMC also provides instructional materials for the school to aid teaching”

“As a form of checks and balances ,every group in the community, represented in the school based management Committee are signatories to the SBMC account” Ado added.

The Headteacher of Ja’en SP school,Abba Shuaibu said the major challenge facing the school and and by extension the SBMC is provision of adequate infrastructure as the increasing numbers of pupils  keep out numbering available facilities.

SBMC gives support in the provision of instructional materials already we have more pupils coming to school now,we run morning and afternoon school for classes 4& 5 while other classes attend school in the morning”

Recalled that the Director of Social Mobilisation of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Bello Kagara,said stakeholders Participation remains the global and modern approach to addressing the out of school OSC, menace in Nigeria.

According to Kagara,” SBMC is the closest structure to engage in addressing the problem of OSC,the community if properly supported will deliver”.

UBEC through SUBEB is priotising enagagment with communities hosting these basic schools ,we have realised that they are better machinery to perform functions of supervision of projects and policies in basic schools.

Already the Nigerian government will Inject the sum of N2.78b in the SBMC Intervention scheme in 2,505 basic schools across the country”. Kagara added.

Pictures below:

Ime Njoku