The classrooms of LGEA School, Eyenkorin in Kwara State are old, dilapidated and overcrowded.
The primary school has existed since 1982 and currently has about 150 pupils but the desks and chairs are not enough. There is no library or even a desktop computer and there are no toilets or facilities for recreation and extra-curricular activities in the school.
The pupils defecate openly in a bush close to the school and learn under the trees dotting the school premises.
On Wednesday when SaharaReporters visited the school in the Asa local government area of Kwara, the pupils were scattered in groups all over the premises, in different classes in the shade of different trees. Each class was manned by a teacher.
"Our pupils have been learning under the trees since early 2021 when heavy downpour destroyed the classes we were managing," a teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Saharareporters
The teacher continued: "Anytime it rains, even if it is 9 am, that will be our closing time for that day because there are no classes for students to hide.
"Many parents have withdrawn their wards from this school because of incessant complaints of headache due to the scorching sun that always rises and sets on the pupils.”
Another teacher told SaharaReporters that the pupils are not the only victims of this bad situation.
"How do you expect us to give our best in this kind of environment where there are no classrooms, no offices and no modern facilities to impact contemporary knowledge on the pupils?” the teacher asked.
"The situation made me to be fed up with this job.”
SaharaReporters found that a new block of two classrooms with an office was recently built by the state government for the school but it had yet to be opened.
It was learnt that the structure was built after several pleas and lobbying to the government, but a teacher told SaharaReporters that "it would not be enough to stop the pupils from learning under the tree."
"We need more classes and toilets in the school to stop open defecation among the pupils," the teacher said.
In mid-2021, the state government received N7.15 billion (N7,151,142,190) grant from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for the first time since 2013, when the state was blacklisted from the national scheme.
According to the government, the N7.15 billion is an accumulation of UBEC grants that were not accessed between 2014 and 2019.
“The money was not accessed because the former administration failed to pay its own counterpart funds.
“The development represents a historic feat for Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who has spent the last one year working to reposition basic education in the state.
“This began with the payment of N450 million diverted funds, which had brought Kwara State under the hammer of the UBEC,” the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Fatimah Ahmed, said in the statement.
It was also added that the UBEC grants were meant for rehabilitation of dilapidated basic schools, construction of new ones, equipping of schools with ICT tools, teacher training and project evaluation, among other purposes contained in the UBEC work plan.
“This money would be spent in phases over the next two years to fix up to 600 elementary schools out of the over 1,400 decrepit basic education facilities across the state,” the statement said.
But despite the receipt of the N7.15 UBEC intervention funds in the state, pupils At LGEA School, Eyenkorin, in the Asa local government area of the state, are still receiving education in the shade of trees.