Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel appears to be looking away as many schools in the state remain in very terrible decaying state. But the state information commissioner, Mr Ini Ememobong says the state government has already drawn up a 10-year work plan on how to fix the schools.
TNN observed that even though some of the school buildings have been rehabilitated in parts of the state, with the NDDC inscription affixed on some of the classroom blocks to show that they were responsible for the repairs in those schools, a good number of the schools are still in sorry states.
Among such schools that are crying for attention is the Lutheran Senior Science Secondary School, Ibakachi, Ukpom in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, one of the senior science secondary schools owned and run by the state government
The school was established in 1954 by the Lutheran Church of Nigeria as a Teacher’s Training College (TTC), to help train manpower for the growing educational needs of the society then.
Everything to make the institution and the environment conducive enough for teaching and learning was provided by the missionaries who owned the school at the time.
it used to be a citadel of learning where students desired and prayed to be admitted. The ambience used to be alluring and the environment alluring. The classrooms, hostels, staff quarters, laboratories, library and administrative blocks and dining hall were well in good shape.
The phasing out of Teacher’s Training Colleges and the subsequent takeover of the facilities by the Akwa Ibom State government and their designation as Senior Science Secondary Schools brought to the fore government’s interest and intention to train the young ones in the sciences.
But the school has a ghost of its former self and a mockery of a centre specifically designated for the teaching and learning of science subjects in the state.
This is happening at a time that the state government claims to be executing thousands of projects, supply of teaching and learning aids and also creating conducive conditions for teaching and learning in primary, post primary and tertiary institutions across the state.
The girl’s hostel in the school is almost extinct. What used to be the girl’s hostel has since been taken over by overgrown weeds. It is getting close to becoming a forest. The few girls in that school are now competing for bed space in a structure that is believed to be a female staff quarters. Walls of the building are already cracked and the floors broken.
Then wait for this: the students and staff are forced to defecate in nearby bushes.
Security and water supply? Sorry, they don’t exist equally. The borehole provided by the school’s Alumni Association is moribund thereby forcing the students to rely on the nearby stream for their water needs.
The boy’s hostel which was believed to have been renovated by ExxonMobil some years ago in response to an appeal by the school’s Alumni Association is also in a horrible state. The windows and doors are beginning to give way while the fittings are falling.
The physics, biology and chemistry laboratory blocks are an eyesore.
The principal’s and administrative block is not spared by that the neglect. Although no official of the school would want to speak on record, it was learnt that there were about 130 students spread across SS1,SS11 and SS111classes. Of course they are forced to learn in those dilapidated classrooms whose windows and doors have since gone.
Sources told TNN that the school has 18 teachers, four of who teach mathematics. There are three none teaching staff including a security man who works in the afternoon hours. Added to these, the walls of some of the classrooms are cracked, the ceilings are falling off, while the writing desks are just insufficient. The only new thing in the school is the signpost. It is not clear who is responsible for it.
In an interview with the information commissioner, he however said there was the need to confirm if the school was still under the control of the state government or if the church had taken over.
He said the state government did not abandon any school. “If you come to Akwa Ibom, you will find fencing, provision of basic infrastructure in schools. The school you are talking about, you must check if the school was not returned to the missionaries.
“Most of the schools were returned to the missionaries. The state government has not abandoned education. We rather have a 10-year educational programme and we are working based on the recommendations of the think-tank that produced that report.”
The commissioner said the government inherited too many schools in terrible shape but that the government was racing against time.
“It will be lovely to have all the schools fixed at the same time but the government is also investing in roads, health and other sectors. So, all schools can’t be taken up at once. I do not know about immediate plans to fix the school in Ukpom but I know that the government has already taken a census of the schools and they will all be fixed in due course.”