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Boko Haram: Massive rebuilding of schools as students resume

Schools in Borno State hitherto disrupted by the prolong Boko Haram insurgency are the opening.

There is said to be massive rebuilding of damaged schools and moving displaced people out of classrooms in an effort to get students who were disrupted by years of Boko Haram violence back to their studies.

UNICEF said with 10.5 million students — nearly one in three — out of the classroom, Nigeria has one of the world’s largest populations of primary school-age children who are out of school.

Indeed, the Voice of America stated that the seven-year insurgency by Boko Haram has had a major impact on education in the country’s northeastern part of the country.

One million children have been forced to leave school because of the violence, UNICEF said. About 1,200 schools have been damaged, looted or turned into shelters for displaced people.

In particular, Borno State will start its term later this month now that the militants have gone. The state Education Commissioner, Musa Inuwa Kubo, said the local governments were taking steps to get classrooms ready for returning students in line with the directive of Governor Kashim Shettima.

Internally displaced people have been relocated, and “we have renovated all the schools that the IDPs stayed in,” Kubo said.

Boko Hararm, roughly translates to “western education is forbidden, has impacted negatively more on education and any aspect of life regarding modern civilization. ” The group has murdered teachers and students, and destroyed more than 140 schools in Borno state alone, Kubo said.

Reconstruction has started on some schools that have been destroyed, particularly in towns near the state capital, Maiduguri, Kubo said.

In Chibok, site of the mass Boko Haram kidnapping of 279 schoolgirls from the town’s boarding school in 2014 that sparked global outrage, Nigerian Army engineers have started rebuilding.

But some parts of Borno remain too dangerous to access, Kubo said. Fifteen schools in these areas will not open when classes resume.

Years of fighting have forced about 2.7 million people to flee across Nigeria and its neighboring regions. That’s caused a surge of displaced people into cities such as Maiduguri.

Toby Fricker, a UNICEF spokesman, said some schools will face a 180 percent increase in students.

But this influx may also offer some advantages, Fricker said. Borno is one of Nigeria’s poorest states and school attendance was low even before the insurgency.

“You really have a lot of displaced people who are in towns or even in internally displaced camps and in some cases have easier access to education because of the location,” requiring less travel than before, Fricker said.

The moves to rebuild schools could not come soon enough. While the insurgents damaged the school in Chibok during the kidnapping, the government leveled it completely soon afterward.

Parents complained that the demolition left their children with no place to continue their education.

If her abducted daughter is rescued, Esther Yakubu says she would let Dorcas Yakubu finish her education at the new school – on one condition.

“She cannot live in the school anymore,” Yakubu said. “You know, if she’s with me at home, just going to the school to write her paper and come back home, this [kidnapping] would not even happen to her.”

Dele Fashomi
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.