When you see the way some parents respond to education provided free to their children, you will wonder if they thought education was overrated.

Can you imagine going to a school two days after resumption and find just 3 students and a teacher in an entire school of over 100 students? 

The gates where wide open welcoming students back to school, but only 8 feet walked into the compound two days after schools resumed from summer vacation. 

Community Primary School in Edepie, Bayelsa State, was calm and quiet that it could be mistaken for a graveyard by a blind man walking into that premises for the first time. 

While pupils of schools in most Nigerian states are returning to school with joy and refreshed zeal, the attitude of parents in Bayelsa towards educating their children will leave you in awe, wondering if you were in a dreamland. Or is it poverty in the land that has overwhelmed them?  

Bounce News visited Community Primary School on Tuesday, but was shocked to find just three pupils and a teacher in the entire school that has a population of about 112 students. 

They actually deserve an accolade at least, if not an award.

Bayelsa state school resumption and attendance

It was the teacher that came first, displaying her patriotism, even though she refused to be named. 

'No Student To Teach'

While she was on phone talking to someone and complaining about being the only teacher present at the time, a boy walked in, followed by his sister, carrying her school bag and a plastic water bottle. 

When she was approached she said: "I am the only teacher present now.  

"Yesterday, 9 of us reported for duty but there was no single student to teach 

"Despite the fact that we are being owed August salary, I am here to do my job".

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In further discussions, what could have caused the lackadaisical attitude of the teachers showed. 

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She explained that in 2016, Primary school teachers were owed three months arrears. Another three months in 2017 and no implementation of promotions. 

According to her, she was in level 14 but still earned the salary of a level 12 official.

A woman, who who accompanied her daughter to the school and simply identified herself as Mrs Ebide, expressed displeasure over the absence of some teachers. 

Bayelsa state school resumption and attendance

She knows why most students were not in school and she shared with Bounce News.

"Just go to Tombia market now, the children are busy hawking sachet water for their mothers 

"They are used to buying and selling but my anger is that their mothers, who never had the opportunity to get good education, won't encourage them," she said.  

Another parent, Mr Robinson, who has a welding shop just close to the school said "the teachers are not the problem. It is parents who will never encourage their children to go to school that are the problem.   

"I have three children and they all attended this same school".

He expressed worries over the trend and advised parents to look beyond the present time and prepare their children for the challenges of tomorrow  

A few metres away from the school was Anita Peremobere, a 12-year-old girl and a primary 5 pupil.

She was supposed to be in school but she was seen hawking fresh periwinkle along the street. 

Anita said her mother pleaded with her to hawk throughout the first week of resumption to enable her pay for her books. 

Smiling, she said: "I will miss a lot in school but my mommy said if I don't sell periwinkle this week, no books for me.   

"I will collect notes from my friend next week," she said, reeling out her back up plan.

It was a situation peculiar with public school, as students of BB Academy located along Austin Dressmann Street Edepie were in school. 

At this point, it became obvious that the government needed to do more to bring the pupil to school and also encourage parents to send their ward to school. 

Bayelsa School resumption and attendance
Students of BB Academy already in school 

At Tombia market, children who are supposed to be in school hawk sachet water, grounded of one, Egusi (melon), pepper, ice fish, plantain, lobster, crab, periwinkle and just anything that people buy.

Outside the market, like Anita, some of them move around offering residents all items they can cook with while sitting outside their home.