News / Africa

Few Choices for Rural Niger Delta Students

Most of the Niger Delta's 31 million residents live on less than $1 a day in the countryside and analysts say poverty will increase if rural schools are not improved, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)Most of the Niger Delta's 31 million residents live on less than $1 a day in the countryside and analysts say poverty will increase if rural schools are not improved, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
x
Most of the Niger Delta's 31 million residents live on less than $1 a day in the countryside and analysts say poverty will increase if rural schools are not improved, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Most of the Niger Delta's 31 million residents live on less than $1 a day in the countryside and analysts say poverty will increase if rural schools are not improved, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Heather Murdock
Most rural residents of the Niger Delta barely have enough money to stay alive, and the economy of the countryside is changing for the worse, with fishing and farming becoming less profitable. Residents say that if their dilapidated schools do not get more teachers and supplies, the next generation of Niger Deltans will have it even worse.
 
This school in Abuja was built in the 1970s as part of a program to bring education to the countryside in the Niger Delta, where families often are isolated by a lack of roads and infrastructure. Acting Principal Michael Okorafor said back then it was funded, but now it is falling apart.  
 
“We don’t have adequate staff. We don’t have English masters, even math masters we are lacking. Core subjects,” he said.

Dilapidated schoolhouses

Okorafor said some buildings are in disrepair, while others are entirely unusable. Dried skins of poisonous snakes are scattered on the concrete floors of the administration building and the teachers will not go inside.
 
Odike Ambrose, another rural primary school headmaster, said even worse is that teachers do not want jobs in remote areas, and those that accept the posts often do not show up.
 
“Most of the teachers refuse to accept postings to the rural areas. It’s a true story,” said Ambrose.

He said any family that can afford it sends their children to the city to go to school. But most families cannot.  

Poisonous oil spills

Samson Okoro is an education consultant and retired secondary school teacher in Warri, a city rich in oil and little else. He said most rural children in the Niger Delta do not go to college and have the same job choices as their parents: fishing and farming.  
 
Decades of massive oil spills have made these two jobs less profitable, however, and families increasingly are desperate to find some other way to make money.

Oil coats plants along the creeks of the Niger Delta. Residents say decades of oil spills have destroyed the rural fishing and farming economies, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)Oil coats plants along the creeks of the Niger Delta. Residents say decades of oil spills have destroyed the rural fishing and farming economies, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
x
Oil coats plants along the creeks of the Niger Delta. Residents say decades of oil spills have destroyed the rural fishing and farming economies, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Oil coats plants along the creeks of the Niger Delta. Residents say decades of oil spills have destroyed the rural fishing and farming economies, Niger Delta, November 2012. (H. Murdock/VOA)
“For any economy to succeed they must improve on education. For any economy to improve, you must educate your people,” said Okoro.

He added that failed schools in the countryside also threaten the stability of the Niger Delta.  
 
Residents already are angry that the government and oil companies reap huge profits while most of the roughly 31 million residents live on less than $1 a day. In the last few years, tens of thousands of militants laid down their weapons, ending decades of battle. The peace remains fragile, though, with attacks on oil pipelines still a regular occurrence.   
 
With oil spills making the people poorer and no chance to get out through education, Okoro said the residents of the Niger Delta are likely to get even more angry.  

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs