The current state of education in Nigeria is a cause of concern to every well-meaning Nigerian who recognizes the value of education in the development of our Nation. The Basic Education, which covers Primary 1 to Junior Secondary School 3 and then to Senior Secondary School 3, is in a state of shame. Unfortunately, the Nigerian leaders have failed to ensure Free and Effective Basic Education for its growing young population. Despite the myriad challenges in closing the literacy gap, the most visible decay can be identified in the poor infrastructure and terrible learning environments children learn in. Fixing the learning gap is what our Hero, Fatyitmwa Sandra Ajik and her team hope to solve. Sarauta Networks’ Nenkinan Nehemiah Deshi had a chat with Fatyitmwa for the #NAHWC Series about BCE and what they do.
Fatyitmwa Sandra Adik is a teacher, an entrepreneur, a wife, mother, lover of children, and initiator of The Better Class Environment (BCE).”
When asked what inspired her to state this initiative, she said the idea was “conceived during the lockdown in April in 2020 but launched officially on the 10th of May same year.”
On what the Basic Idea behind the BCE project is and the intended goal, Fatyitmwa says;
“Basically, Better Class Environment is a response to the current dilapidating condition of most government schools in Jos. As a lover of children and a teacher, I know the learning environment is essential to the academic, social and emotional life of a child. When these kids lack the basic facilities to learn or learn in worn-out classrooms, it will be hard to see them do well in school or life generally. BCE is taking up the challenge to change the narrative instead of waiting on the government to create a more conducive, fun-filled and comfortable learning environment for kids in government primary schools. Our goal is to reach one school at a time in big or small ways, remodelling them the best way we can”.
I asked Fatyitmwa how the Journey has been;
“Nothing good comes easy but, every time we take a step towards realizing our goal, we realize just how important and demanding this can be. We have had to learn, unlearn and relearn a whole lot on the job. The journey has been interesting and challenging, but what’s important is that we are growing so it would be unfair to say the journey hasn’t been a remarkable one. It has opened our eyes to many realities, exposed us to people and ideas and responsibilities. So far so good, God has been good. Also, the committed, dedicated and hardworking team keeps making the journey worth it”.
On if the BCE Project has been able to achieve the goals they started with;
“Because we are still growing and because of some challenges we had to face and are facing, I would say we have been able to carry out just a little of the big picture we have in mind. We decided it would be wise to take one class at a time considering the cost of remodelling and other factors so we have just one but well-remodelled class and we are currently working on the next class.
Thank God it is getting better, we are connecting and building relationships with people and institutions that would partner to help us actualize more, at the moment there is an organization in the U.S willing to collaborate with us by sending in computers so we can create a computer lab for the kids soon. So yeah we are achieving our goals. It is slow but steady and I have no doubt we will grow stronger and do better”.
On what the Challenges have been;
“Our major challenge is funding. All around the world, there is a lack of trust for initiatives like this because of the belief that it’s always just about the money, so many people are sceptical to invest finances to make it grow – it’s even worse in Nigeria. For us to do what we have to do, we need money and when it’s not forthcoming the project will suffer. BCE doesn’t just solicit for funds, we ask the public to give us anything they have in their houses, offices that are recyclable and they no longer need, yet we have just a few people that are willing to give. Another issue is the few volunteers we have at the moment.
We have only but a few hands to help out and most of them are even students. This makes it tasking for them since they have to shuffle between this and school and other things they have going on for them. Because of the level of work and the conditions of the schools, we have to multi-task and spend so much to our disadvantage. These are our major challenges”
I asked Fatyitmwa what she had to say about the state of Public Education Learning Environments in Nigeria;
“Really bad I must say. I can’t even begin to describe how terrible some of the places we have been to are. Broken tables, falling roofs, using stones as chairs, class floors full of holes, walls painted with dirt. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much of an improvement from the way it was 20 to 30 years ago. In most developed countries, public schools use smart TVs, Ipads and sophisticated technology to teach. Unfortunately, over here we are still struggling with blackboards and chalks, not even whiteboards and markers. I know Nigeria is still a developing country technologically. But I am pretty sure there are certain things the government can afford to enhance the current situation of public schools. I feel there is a serious need for us to upgrade”
Fatyitmwa went further to state what she thinks the government should do about the state of school environments and education as a whole;
“As I said earlier, I believe the government can do better. I would say the government should pay more attention to public schools and invest in making the class environment a safe zone. This helps the child feel important and look forward to learning. Furthermore, it would help us produce more great minds and good leaders. But if the class environment is not welcoming enough, then it would only encourage crime and mediocrity. Of course, the teachers would do better and be motivated to teach well if the environment is beautiful! They can ensure that these children have quality chairs, tables, books, toilets, toys for the toddlers and from time to time, check-ups to ensure that these facilities and materials are maintained. They should also see to it that these schools have well trained and well-paid teachers”.
As is always of concern to me, I asked Fatyitmwa what we the Citizens can do to make the condition and state of public education better;
“It’s everyone’s business to make our country better and to make our schools better. We can all put in ‘our little drops’ as mother Theresa would say. We can donate books and writing materials to schools. More people can volunteer to teach in schools, people could support initiatives like BCE, the list goes on and on. There is a lot of people can do to make the educational system better. You can just look for a void and fill it. Education is the bedrock on which every other thing is built, so there is a need for us to pay close and deliberate attention to it and make it work!”
Fatyitmwa and the BETTER CLASS ENVIRONMENT project are doing are making an impact in their own way. One can only hope the overall state of public education in Nigeria will be improved upon and the future of these kids is protected. Fatyitmwa is one of many Nigerians with the burden of fixing the system. Her team has put in is commendable and requires more support to reach more communities.
Contact the Better Class Environment Project through; Email – email@example.com, Facebook – Better Class Environment, Twitter – @class4kids, Instagram – @betterclass4kids.
Last modified: August 26, 2021