By Precious Ukeje
There is unsustainable hope for attaining academic prowess by basic school pupils in Ndiukwuenu Community, Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State, as pre-basic and basic schools in the area lack the required number of teachers and facilities needed for proper running of an academic institution.
Ndiukwuenu is an agrarian community surrounded by communities such as Awa, Ama-Etiti, Ajalli, and Ugwuoba, a community in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The Headmistress of one of the schools in the community, Central School, Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu, Mrs Theresa Ijeoma Ike, had on Sunday, July 21, 2021, during the school’s graduation, informed those in attendance that as part of their challenges, among other things, the school had hired gowns they used for their graduation ceremonies for the past six years.
Mrs Ike disclosed further that Central School, Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu, lacked toilet facilities which exposed their pupils to danger of snake bites as they used the bush for alternative lavatory, adding that they also lacked chairs and tables for teachers.
‘The school needs a marching band to be using during assemblies.
because it gives the pupils great joy; our school is being carried away by erosion, which, if not checked, might lead to collapse of buildings,’ the school’s headmistress said.
Upon a visit to the community, Fides investigation revealed that Central School, Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu, and Community School, Mkpogho/Ubani, Ndiukwuenu, which; for communal issues between Mkpogho and Ubani, had been simply renamed Community School, Ndiukwuenu, were covered in thick grasses that had grown into a bush, a development that poses danger for pupils of the schools who consist of infants.
Also, there were no perimeter fences and security arrangements for the schools.
Speaking to Fides at her office, Tuesday, July 27, Mrs Ike said the school was experiencing slow progression owing to very low population which she attributed to the location of the school in a remote area.
Disclosing that the school was the last in Anambra State, as the next place was Enugu State, she said the pupils were not more than a hundred in number and that it cost a fortune to go to the local government headquarters at Ajalli, especially with a tight economy in place. Ike, an indigene of the community, said her school had only six teachers, including herself.
Although operation of the school was made to be done jointly by the Parent-Teacher-Association, School Base Management Committee and nursing mothers, Mrs Ike who had been the Headmistress of the school since 1999, also lamented that for some time, Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu Community was not forthcoming in their support to the schools owing to communal crises.
While she submitted that the government had been playing some part in supporting the school, she added that it was not enough as the school was in need of several equipment and facilities which were not forthcoming.
The Headmaster, Community School, Ndiukwuenu, Mr Solace Amarachukwu Emenike, for his part, noted also that the population of the school was poor, with a paltry 56 pupils, while he also said that parents in the community did not get involved in the school’s system.
Mr Emenike said several efforts had been made by the Management, including distribution of circulars to parents to persuade members of the community to get involved, proved abortive. He lamented also that the pupils were too tender, an explanation to the overgrown bushes around the school.
Quizzed on efforts made to draw the attention of the government, the Community School, Ndiukwuenu’s Headmaster who joined the school after ten years at St Johnbosco Seminary, Isuaniocha, said none had been made since he took over from the former HM who retired in 2019.
He however said he had consulted someone who advised him to involve the Education Secretary of Orumba North Local Government Area to help push the sensitization in the community. He called on parents within the community to make efforts not to send their wards to schools outside the community.
Meanwhile, a source who guided Fides during the tour of the community and who pleaded anonymity, hailed the government for doing its part in terms of providing required facilities as they did to other communities.
He however noted that the community members were stakeholders in education and made efforts to improve education within their communities, just as he expressed worry that individuals in the community did not contribute as expected.
The source called on public spirited individuals within and outside the community to help schools in the community through donations in areas such as school buses, as some of the few teachers came from far places, and others.