In the 90s, the education sector in Awka-North Local Government Area of Anambra State could be said to be in its bloom. The standard of education then was very high and virtually the best in the state. Students from neighbouring communities and beyond sought refuge in their academic strong shield.
The natives who are predominantly farmers built most of the schools through the combined efforts of the Church Missionary Societies (CMS) and handed them over to the state government. But at the moment, that splendour seems to belong to the past as most of the schools are filled with dilapidated structures. Reptiles and other harmful animals have long taken over the compounds.
Aside dilapidation, the schools are, at present, grappling with security challenges as the area is now home to all manner of social miscreants parading about even when academic activities are in session. An investigation by Education Review shows that Youth Corps members being posted to the area, in the past six years, for their primary assignments, prefer living in the state capital and operating from there, because of insecurity, coupled with absence of basic social amenities. On one occasion, a community in the area was, reportedly, compelled to pay the few corps members who agreed to stay some compensation for the attacks they suffered in the hands of armed robbers.
Student population in the area has drastically decreased owing to exodus of students to other schools located outside the area. In a chat with Education Review, the Principal, Community Secondary School, Amanuke, Mr. Onyeakpa Gibson, revealed that an SOS had, several times, been sent to the State Ministry of Education and ASUBEB, detailing the state of dilapidation in his school, but his cry is yet to receive the expected attention. “There was a general request for us to send the photos of dilapidated structures, which we have done.
Together with some leaders in the community, we met with the Commissioner for Education who promised to take our request to the Governor but so far we’ve not seen any positive response. So, we are still waiting for government’s action,” he said. “Beside the dilapidated structures, the new curriculum requires us to prepare our students for examinations in both vocational subjects and computer studies but we lack basic equipment with which to do that. Sometime ago, computers were shared to schools but we did not receive any.
Apart from the VIP toilet, there are no other government-supplied amenities here. We have not received any science equipment. No borehole is sited anywhere here.” While thanking the Amanuke community for instituting sanctions to curtail exodus of students from the town, Onyeakpa called on the Anambra State Government to come to their rescue. It is the same story for his counterpart, Mr. Anunobi Simon, the Principal, Community Secondary School, Mgbakwu. In a chat with Education Review, he lamented that the few blocks of building that dot the school compound are all dilapidated and have their roofs leaking heavily during the rainy season.
“The whole of the structures are dilapidated; the roofs are leaking and we pray that the governor will remember us,” he said. “We are hoping that the community will come in. We lack classrooms. First, we don’t have enough; secondly, the ones we have are dilapidated. When it rains, the books are normally soaked. “Another problem is insecurity. Because the school is not fenced, the natives have been encroaching on our land and that has been our headache. We need MDG toilets. I have appealed to the MDG’s office,” he added.
He, however, thanked Governor Peter Obi for renovating their library and for sponsoring sporting activities in the school. A staff of Community Secondary School, Isuaniocha, who preferred anonymity revealed the state of dilapidation in the school when he exclaimed: “My brother, the decay here is terrible. I just pity these children. Take a look at the structures. Just look around. During rainy season, we usually use umbrellas to shield ourselves from rain inside the classrooms, and you know what that means? The staffroom is not ceiled and the government is doing nothing about it. Maybe when these few dilapidated structures collapse, we’ll all go home.”