Some pupils of Jaamat Primary School having fun at the swings made available from direct funding to the school by ESSPIN
The school bell rang and within seconds the pupils were out on the field. Most of them ran across the school field, towards a set of swings. Three boys were quicker than the rest. They mounted the swings and started swaying back and forth with excitement. Others pupils watched with excitement too, waiting for their turn.
“Break time is now a happy time”, said Mrs L. A. Olaniyi, head mistress of Jaamat Primary School, Iloffa, in Oke Ero area of Kwara State. She then explained how play is essential to development because it contributes to the overall well-being of children.
“As little as the swings are, they have brought fun and improvement to my pupils. We even have children from nearby schools wanting to join the school because of the swings”, she added, watching the pupils played from a distance.
The school had used part of its share of the Direct Funds to Schools (DFS) provided by ESSPIN to make the playing objects. ESSPIN had offered the funding to help public primary schools in Kwara meet some of their needs, especially minor repairs and purchases. The fund was also to demonstrate to government the benefits of providing funds directly to schools to meet their running costs.
Currently Kwara schools receive no direct funding from the government. Instead school funds are usually with the education authorities, often trapped due to inefficiencies in the system.
So in 2010 ESSPIN provided nearly N34 million (£140,000) shared among 226 selected public primary schools from four Local Government Areas (LGAs) – Ilorin East, Kaiama, Oke Ero and Oyun.
“We received N150,000 (£625) of the DFS. With the money, we made the swings, bought exercise books for all our pupils, a computer system, got a first aid box and now making new classroom furniture”, Mrs Olaniyi further explained. “This fund had made some difference in improving our school.”
“We like the swings. It is fun playing with them. Now we can enjoy the same things as children in private schools do”, said Adekemi, a primary four female pupil.
The programme will be providing another tranche of N42.4 million of DFS to 257 Kwara schools in 2012 to further show the merits of funding schools directly. With more good use of the fund, it is expected that the state government will soon adopt this approach to funding.