The commission recently conducted tracer survey on graduates of nomadic schools. What was the objective?
We trained our staff about tracer study: that is to go and find out what has happened to our graduates over the years. The nomadic education programme has been on for about 29 years now but we have never gone out to find the outcome of this education to these nomads. So what we decided to do is to train our staff on tracer study by developing instrument and the methodology of tracing our graduates. So far we have trained them and we have pilot-tested our instruments and methodology. We believe we have perfected our instrument now for the tracer study. We went to the north-west zone, the largest geo-political zone in the country, for this particular study.
What did you find in the pilot testing?
We went to about 10 local government areas during the survey and encountered a lot of difficulties. The people were receptive while some were apprehensive. Surprisingly, the women were very much open. Our system made the women to come out and speak to us in such a way that we gathered more data from them than the men. It turned out that the men were bickering with one another. The women were straight to the point.
Initially, we had a focal group where we would ask questions across board, and then we would also go to a headmaster and ask for attendance and enrolment over the years, and so many other things. We would now go back to the village and then to communities where we have a school-based management committee, sit with them and ask them about their previous graduates.
We were able to find out that a lot of our pupils who graduated from nomadic schools became instruments in this country. They are part of the civil service and the private sector. In fact we discovered that these graduates are part of the machinery that is running the country’s day-to-day businesses. We came back with this data and we are excited about it because we never thought that we would be able to trace some of these graduates. We got some of their telephone numbers. We discussed with some of the dropouts and told them the importance of going back to school. We went with a few text books and we handed over to them. So by and large it was a very successful outing for us. When we came back we decided to go out to see whether we could cover one geo-political zone for all nomadic schools that have graduated pupils over the period they have been established. That is why we are out now.
Inadequate teachers and infrastructure are the major challenges facing nomadic schools, what effort are you making to address these problems?
As part of the outing, we are also enumerating some of the schools that may require assistance in terms of infrastructure, tables, chairs including some of them that have collapsed classrooms and so many other things. The most important one is that I visited a primary school where 240 pupils were sitting in one classroom that doesn’t have a concrete floor. The pupils were all sitting on the ground.
Honestly, there is shortage of infrastructure and there is need for us to put hands on deck and make sure that the right thing is done. For example rehabilitating these schools and building additional block of classrooms for some of the pupils that are studying under trees would help a lot. The responsibility does not lie on the nomadic commission but the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).