Ignored Opportunities: The Plight of Under-enrollment and Access to Quality Education in Marke Community.
Education is a fundamental human right and a crucial tool for personal and societal development. It is the key to unlocking a brighter future for our children and community. Despite the many educational advances, some communities still struggle with access to quality education. One such community is Marke Community, Mahuta in Dambatta Local Government Area Kano State, where a public school with low enrollment fees and free uniforms is not utilized to its full potential. Instead, many parents in the community choose to let their children hawk and play rather than attend school. The Team at BCAI discovered this recently when they visited the community to conduct a sensitization program on the benefits of child spacing, only to find a sparsely populated school.
The under-enrollment in public school is a missed opportunity for the children of Marke. With education, they can break the cycle of poverty and gain the skills necessary to succeed. However, the lack of interest in education among the parents in Marke is a significant barrier to this success. Out of curiosity, team members decided to engage with the school’s principal and ask why the school was so underpopulated. What was revealed was a shock. The principal Malam Ali stated, “since the inception of the current term, only nine students have enrolled, and the total number of students in JSS 1 is 21, JSS 2 is 22, and JSS 3 is 23, respectively.” Despite the affordable fee of 500 Naira for enrollment and 200 per term for school fees, parents are still reluctant to pay or enroll their children in school. According to him, the fees were added in order to help the school get basic teaching materials, as the provisions made by the governments are often limited, he further added that although the teaching capacity is low considering that they have only two teachers available in the school, they still make personal sacrifices from their salary to ensure the students have what they need to learn.
The community’s population is approximately 3,000 families, each with 6-7 children, yet half of the population, which is made up of children, are not in school, most of them being girls. There are a variety of reasons why parents may choose not to send their children to school. Some may be struggling with poverty and see their children’s labor as a source of income. Others may lack understanding of the importance of education and believe that their children are better off working or playing. Regardless of the reason, this situation is unacceptable. Children in Marke are being denied their right to an education and the opportunity to reach their full potential. This affects not only the children but also the community and society.
While it is true that the government bears the responsibility of providing quality education to children, what can we say for the people living in this community who do not fully understand the importance of education? Access to education is a shared responsibility. The big question is, how can we work together to ensure every child in Marke has access to quality education? This question requires the collective effort of the government, community leaders, and parents.
The government and other organizations must take action to address this issue. This can include providing financial support to families to help offset the costs of education, offering incentives for parents to send their children to school, and providing more resources and funding for community schools. Community leaders can also play a vital role by mobilizing the community and creating awareness about the importance of education. Additionally, the public school in Marke must strive to provide a high-quality education to ensure students are motivated to attend.
In conclusion, the under-enrollment and lack of access to quality education in Marke is a serious issue that must be addressed because the children in Marke deserve the opportunity to receive a proper education and reach their full potential and education is the key to unlocking a brighter future for the children and their community. It is our responsibility to ensure that they receive a quality education. Together, we can make a difference.
Written by Maureen Aggie Alor and Juliet Nwobodo