Residents of Gumchiguni and Masori in Alkaleri local government area of Bauchi State have attributed the low enrollment of children in schools to dilapidated school structures, lack of school facilities and poverty.
The residents stated this when UNICEF Bauchi field office team and journalists visited the areas to interact with out-of-school children, members of relevant community structures, parents and guardians.
A resident of Masori community, Hajiya Lami Ibrahim said that sending children to school was financially demanding on the family, adding that they have resorted to sending the children to hawk in order to provide for the family.
“We are basically farmers in this community and depend on farm proceeds to provide food for the family but that cannot sustain the family for long. We cannot afford to send our children to school because it is financially demanding, so we rather send them to sell things in order to provide extra income for the family,” she said.
A mother of six children in Gumchiguni, Aisha Mohammed corroborated Lami’s view, saying that poverty is a major factor why there are many out-of-school children in the community.
According to her, “Parents cannot afford to buy school uniforms, textbooks and other school demands because there is no money for that.
“We are peasant farmers who do not make much from farming.
“There are a lot of competing needs in the family like feeding, healthcare and others. Some of our husbands do not have a legitimate source of livelihood.
“So, how can they train a child in school when they don’t have the means to do that.”
The community leader of Gumchiguni community, Ali Sarkin Shanu said that during the rainy season, children in the community don’t go to school because of leaky classrooms.
“The structure of the school is dilapidated, there is no water storage system, no toilet facilities, no tables and chairs for learning.
“During the season, our children do not go to school because the condition of learning is not conducive for them. During that period, they go to the farm,” he said.