For about 25 years, going to school in Sangaru Primary School, Bajoga, Gombe State, means going to sit under tree shade. For the pupils, it seemed like fun. They saw everyone pass. They followed every little insect with their juvenile eyes from one point to another. Every particle big enough for the eyes to see was a potential attention grabber for the pupils’ growing minds.
They could run around as they like in the hot afternoon sun and any time it rained, school was over for the day. They simply went home.Class control meant actually running after the pupils and forcing them to sit in the makeshift class. It was hard to get the children to learn anything at all. There used to be four to five different classes under one three and there were about three trees. It was usually difficult to tell the difference between when class was in progress and when the children are on break.
For the teachers, it was frustrating to say the least. Parents had their own fears. Gombe is an insurgency hotspot. Following the kidnap of more than 200 girls kidnapped from Chibok Borno State in April 2014, enrolment and attendance in the school dropped drastically. Parents held their children back home for fear they may be kidnapped by insurgents. Apart from the dire lack of classrooms in the Primary school, the school had no perimeter fence around it.
Fast forward to 2017, AshakaCem Plc, a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim donated two blocks of classrooms and a perimeter fence to the school. Each block of classroom contains two classrooms each. In the eyes of the school headmaster, Nuru Adamu, the result of the donations was magical. Class control has become a lot easier now than when the pupils had to take their classes under the tree. The fencing and classroom also increased the number of enrollment in the school. Before the intervention by Ashaka Cement, the population of the pupils was about 1,800 but it grew to over 2,000 after the fence and the classrooms were built. “Everything looks normal now in this school but it was not always this normal. We are glad that the learning environment here has improved.”