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    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    The pitiable state of Ogun schools ...One Roofed with Ghana-must-go bags ...Students Write Exam on Used Tyres

    Ogun State does not pride itself as the academic pillar of Nigeria, but it certainly was a pathfinder of education excellence in the country.
    Chroniclers of Nigeria’s chequered history have put it down in black and white that the first newspaper in Nigeria, Iwe Iroyin, was established in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The implication is that Ogun has been a centre of academic distinction from old and the people of the state have been in the forefront of the quest for knowledge and all that it represents.

    The state has characteristically produced the inimitable Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the man who pioneered free education in Nigeria and went ahead to set up first radio and television stations in the country at a time such innovations were not considered worthy legacies, even by some European countries then.

    In like manner, great and celebrated minds like Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Afrobeat maestro, Fela Ramsome-Kuti, MKO Abiola, Ernest Shonekan and the only man who has ruled Nigeria both as a military Head of State and civilian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo are all wards of Ogun State.
    It is also on record that the state has sensationally boasted of some of the best secondary schools in the land. Schools like Abeokuta Grammar School, African Church Grammar School, Ago-Iwoye Secondary School, Baptist Boys’ High School, Christ the King Catholic College, Egba High School and Federal Government College, Odogbolu bore the stamp of a people’s ingenuity in all spheres of academic pursuits.

    Indeed, Ogun State was not noted for education backwardness. It was a pacesetter in academic matters.

    So, why has the academic environment of the state got so polluted that in Ifo Local Government Area, some secondary schools are in various stages of deterioration? The answers to this poser are as puzzling as they are irritating.


    It was philosopher Robert Maynard Hutchins who said, ‘The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives’. So many things are wrong with Community High School, Akute; Ajuwon High School, Iju, Ajuwon and Community High School, Ojodun Abiodun, all in Ifo Local Government Area.
    Contrary to the recommendation of Hutchins, the three schools might not, in the real sense of it, prepare any child for education about life in the future.
    For instance, all the roads leading to these schools have either collapsed or abandoned. From Ajuwon to Akute, a road that hosts Ajuwon High School and Community High School, Akute, is embarrassingly impassable though a patchwork is ongoing on it now, experts on road matters say it will just take a matter of months before the road caves in again.

    At the other end is the Akute- Denro-Ojudu/ Berger road where the Community Junior High School, Ojodu Abiodun is located. Like the Ajuwon/ Akute road, the Akute/ Berger road is nothing but a death trap to motorists and a nightmare to pedestrians.

    What this means is that students find it pretty difficult accessing their respective schools even as the entire place is a hell of a sort during rainy season when it is waterlogged and purgatory during dry season when it is dangerously dusty.

    What is even more disheartening is the fact that the schools (except Community High School Ojodu Abiodun) are situated in unconducive environments. Both Ajuwon High School and Community High School, Akute are located within market squares where all manner of traders, artisans and commercial drivers ply their daily businesses thereby making quality learning and standard education delivery difficult.

    In the morning and afternoon hours, there are usually variegated waves of noise emanating from the surroundings that are enough to distract the students.
    If it is not the conductors shouting themselves hoarse indicating which routes they’re taking, it is the mechanics disturbing with their tools or the traders discolouring the serenity of the school environment with their wares which stare the students in the face thereby tempting them unnecessarily.

    Responding to this ugly development, Pastor Paul Ojo of Christ the Living God Missionary Church, Akute-Odo, Akute called on Governor Ibikunle Amosun to assist the schools. According to him, ‘the state of Community High School, Akute, is quite pathetic. It is an insult to the sensitivity of Ogun State known for great academic endowments.

    As a matter of fact, the entire structure is in a shambles and I wonder how any meaningful academic exercise can go on in such a dilapidated structure.

    I sincerely call on the government of the state under the leadership of Governor Amosun to quickly rescue the school before the worst happens’.

    It is absolutely difficult to believe that a secondary school in 21st century Nigeria still wears such deplorable looks as the Community High School, Akute.

    The area is in a sorry state as the place is normally heavily flooded during rains. When this happens, the students generally have running battle against the flood. Most times, there will be no classes, just the students will then be playing away in the rain, sometimes using the flood as a makeshift swimming pool.
    It is always intriguing to come around the school any time it rains as the entire scenario can compel a pregnant woman to experience miscarriage just as it can also force tears out of the eyes of the strong and mighty. Perhaps, the most worrisome aspect of the Akute show of shame is the shanty structure called school building.

    The school has no wall. Carefully hedged Ghana-must-go bags which must have been scourged by the sun, buffeted by the wind and drenched by the rain serve as the school’s wall. The whole episode sounds like a fairytale even as it looks like a theatre scene. Some residents of the community said it was insulting for such a school with obsolete facilities to be associated with a quasi-cosmopolitan city like Akute. Jude Thaddeus Opara is a businessman.

    He said: ‘I cannot imagine that this is a secondary school meant to prepare our children for the challenges of tomorrow. In fact, this is a clear manifestation of a show of shame.

    This school is located at this Akute junction while my office is at Ari Fanla, a stone’s throw from the school, so I can talk authoritatively on this matter. The physical outlook of this school is against what modernity and civilization represent.
    I am shocked that this is happening in Nigeria the so-called Giant of Africa and Ogun State for that matter. If I had not seen things by myself, I will not have believed it. I am using this medium to call on the state government to act quickly so as to re-fix this school. There is no way a student can do well in such ugly circumstance’.

    Community High School Akute is a good study guide on how most public schools in Nigeria have suffered untold decay and negligence. The school has no staff room for teachers who cluster in one of the corridors as their official office. It is always horrible for the teachers any time it rains as they normally run helter-skelter for cover.

    Worse still, the dilapidated structure currently used as classrooms, an open hall that may not survive the rain storm of this year’s rainy season, is more or less, like a mad man’s abode. The roofing sheets are corrugated and shattered, the floor is not properly paved and the open classrooms which are highly disorganised follow one another without any form of demarcation, do not provide any good atmosphere for studies.

    The whole thing stinks just as the so called classrooms are overcrowded! Education Review gathered that the school was sacked from its initial site at Denro-Ishashi and was only relocated to its present site on a temporary measure, yet its condition has not improved.

    It really rankles that as the school is in outlook so also it is in academic matters. Most of the students who spoke with Education Review do not know the name of their Principal.

    They only said that he is new in the school and had not been introduced to them. At least, more than 30 of the students were accosted before one of them managed to say that ‘I think his name is Mr. Olashilo but I do not know his other name because he is a new person.

    Our former principal is a woman and she is now at Community Junior High School, Ojodu’. They, students, roam about the school and Akute not minding whether it was break time or not. Asked why they were not in the classrooms, some of them separately muttered something like ‘they (teachers) are not teaching us anything’.
    All attempts to speak with the principal proved abortive as he was said not to be within reach. The teachers could not speak either, maintaining that the only person who could do so was Pastor E. K. O. Oso, the Zonal Education Officer, Ifo Local Government Area.

    A visit to Ifo to get Pastor Oso to answer some questions did not yield any result as he was said to have gone to Abeokuta on official matters.

    However, he spoke on phone with Education Review but failed to answer any question posted to him on ground that the most competent person to do so was the Education Secretary in Abeokuta.


    By far, both the Ajuwon High School and Community Junior High School, Ojodu are better than Community High School, Akute.
    At least both have what could pass as school blocks with relatively good roofs even as the compounds are manageably fenced. But the problem with both schools is that they can be described as painted sepulchres. At Ajuwon High School, one of the classrooms has no functional blackboard and its roll call board was placed directly on the un-plastered wall and this makes it difficult for any person to read.

    It was even reported that some students wrote exams sitting on disused tyres. When Education Review visited the school on March 22, 2013, to see the Principal, he was said to be in a meeting and this reporter waited for more than two hours but to no avail.

    The Principal at Community Junior High School, Ojodu, a woman who was transferred from Community High School, Akute was the most behaved in terms of comportment. She did not hide under the guise of ‘I am in a meeting’ to dismiss our reporter.

    She made herself available but sincerely said she could not answer any question from journalists but directed that all available information about the school and even herself can only be got at the Zonal Educational Office, Ifo.

    The trouble with this school is that the students said the place was usually too dusty during dry season, leading to some of them contracting cold and cough while it was dangerously slippery in the rainy season, making them to fall at the slightest slip.

    It is the wish of the students of those schools to enjoy conducive atmosphere of studies so that they can be taught well and pass their exams with good marks.
    To this effect, Governor Amosun should consider it as a matter of urgency by rescuing these schools, especially Community High School, Akute, from imminent collapse. The entire place is stinking and the only thing he can do now is to act quickly.
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