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Published On: Sun, Mar 1st, 2020

Delta: Schools In Urhobo Communities Where Students Sit On Bare Floor To Learn

LAGOS MARCH 1ST (NEWSRANGERS)-Isherhe Primary School and Adagwe Grammar School in Ughelli North local government area of Delta State are places where pupils and students sit on the bare floor to learn despite provisions by the state ministries of Basic Education and Higher Education.
Founded in 1980, Adagwe Grammar School, located in Eruemukohwarien, plays host to hundreds of students from Ekrokpe and Ekakpamre communities while Ishwrhe Primary School, founded in 1929, accommodates pupils from Oviri, Orho-Agbarho and a host of other communities.
While Eruemukohwarien also plays host to the Transcorp Power Station, Beta Glass Company, the OML30 and 34 and a tank farm, known as the Ughelli Pumping Station, UPS, owned by ND-Western/Shoreline/NPDC joint ventures, Agbarho is the traditional headquarters of Agbarho Kingdom.
Similar to the Success Adegor story of the Okotie-Ebor Primary School, Sapele, who protested after being sent away from school for non-payment of school fees, students of both schools are forced to learn in ridiculous environment while using their thighs as table as others sprawl on the floor for their daily lessons.
The current Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, who was Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, had, while responding to an Instrgram post by a youth corps member in May 2019 on the poor state of Adagwe Grammar School, affirmed the efforts of the state government to transform the physical infrastructure in schools in the state with a promise that the challenges of the school will be looked into soonest.
However, a visit to the school by Sunday Vanguard proved that the promised transformation of physical infrastructures in schools in the state by the Delta government is yet to get to the school as things are going from bad to worse.
At Ishwrhe Primary School, the pupils, who seem elated by the visit, were seen on the bare ground owing to the non-availability of furniture while others, who seemed lucky, were seen kneeling on the ground while using a makeshift table without a chair as their writing pad.
Though the Headmaster and Principal of the schools refused to comment on the level of infrastructural decay in the schools, the students lambasted Delta State government for being insensitive to their plight, with one of them lamenting, “Government refused taking care of our school because we are in a rural community.”
Amrore Faith, a 12-year-old JSS 1 student of the school, said: “Delta State government is not trying at all. We need chairs in our school. Our ceilings are not good. We don’t have boards to write on. We don’t have chairs to sit down to learn; we are pleading with the government to bring chairs.”
Okeoghene Thompson, an SSS 2 student, said: “We receive our tutorials while standing or sitting by the windows.”
On his part, Senior Perfect of the school, Atumrigho Matthew, said: “Since we have no chairs in our classes. We have to move to the empty laboratory and call in teachers to teach. Students find it difficult to cope with their studies because right from SSS 1 till now, we have not been taught a single practical.
“I am appealing to the state government and the Commissioner for Education to please come to our help by providing us chairs and enabling learning environment.”
N2, 500 furniture levy
Speaking on efforts taken so far to draw the attention of government to the school, the Parent Teacher Association, PTA, Chairman of the school, Prince Felix Ogbobore, said: “We have written severally to the local and state governments all to no avail.
“There was a time when a PTA meeting was called at the instance of the immediate past Principal, Mrs. Onome Polokor, and, in that meeting, it was resolved that every parent should pay the sum of N2,500 in order to construct desks but the Principal refused, claiming that she needed to formally inform the state government first.
“After a while, she told parents that the state government had turned down the proposal of the N2, 500 levy, saying it was illegal to levy parents.
“She told us that government will do the needful by supplying desks to the school, but for the past five years, nothing has been done and we have not heard from government and that Principal has left the school now.
Govt. accuses communities
Contacted, the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Patrick Ukah, while accusing the host communities of failing to maintain and manage furniture provided for learning in schools in Delta, warned them to use government properties properly.
He said: “Go to the schools and see how many chairs are being destroyed and ask what is destroying these chairs?
“But we have just given four awards for the supply of chairs again and we have done the needs’ assessment and already know how many schools that do not have.
“We have done our own manual of going round all the primary and secondary schools in the state to do the needs’ assessment and that is how we are going to intervene.
“So, we have awarded the contract for chairs for schools in the South, Central and North senatorial districts, then Warri and the state capital and any moment from now they will begin to come out and we embark on the needed intervention.”

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