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Makoko floating school collapse: Pupils, residents await another intervention

By Gbenga Salau   |   16 October 2016   |   2:40 am
Makoko Floating School while in use

Makoko Floating School while in use

When the Makoko floating school was completed in 2013, many pupils and their parents within the Makoko Waterside Community were excited for two reasons.

Apart from the joy of having an additional learning facility, it was also considered a hugely better facility in comparison to what they call school in that community.

For many of the pupils, who probably never tasted life outside their community; learning under such facility was akin to living in dreamland.

But that joy was cut short earlier this year, when the proprietor of the school had to move the pupils out of the structure because unsafe signs were beginning to crop up. The building was later pulled down after a heavy downpour of June 7, 2016, adversely affected it.

With the structure down, the pupils had no other option than to learn in crowded classrooms. The dire need for classrooms for some of the pupils, led to the conversion of the school’s library and the proprietor office into classrooms.

When The Guardian visited the community recently, school-age children were seen paddling canoe during school hours just as many pupils are highly deficient in class attendance.

To view the site of the now demolished floating school, a canoe was hired and the paddler of the canoe, Mark Daniel, a 13-year-old, revealed that he has never been to school.

Daniel is just one of the many children in the community, who prefer to fish, or ferry passengers across the community to being in school. Female teens in the community hawk roasted fish.

Proprietor of the school, Shemede Noah, said that since the building collapsed, he and other members of the community who benefited from the structure have been waiting for support in order to raise a new building.

He said anxiety to erect another building was sky high, because before then, he had been planning to expand the facility at the old site to accommodate more students, only for the floating school to become defective and eventually collapsed.

“We are waiting for support to have a replacement for the collapsed building, and we are working at that. It is a big community, so we need the facility. The school has brought a lot of publicity to the community, many who did not know about the community before the arrival of the floating school, now do. The building is a famous structure within and outside of Nigeria.”

However, Shemede is bothered about expanding facilities in the old structure. But if he gets the right support, he intends to complete the expansion of facilities in the old structure this year.

According to him, his school has provided opportunities for many pupils who were not willing to go to school, as they find the schools outside the community a bit displeasing to them.

The school, a pilot project, took an innovative approach to addressing the educational needs of the community.

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