In some schools in Afikpo North/South Federal Constituency, Ebonyi State, the conditions of pupils who have been sitting on bare floor for learning without other educational materials have changed through the member Representing the constituency, Hon. Idu Igariwey. UCHENNA INYA reports
“Before, we were sitting on the ground. This made us not to concentrate on our studies and it also made us to suffer waist pains, especially when we sat for too long on the ground. Also, our school uniforms were always very dirty because of the dust on the ground we normally sit for studies”. Those were the words of Master Uka Orji, Primary six Pupil of Egbebu Central School, Ekoli Edda.
The school was one of the schools in the federal constituency that lacked educational materials with pupils sitting on bare floor for learning. Some desks provided by the government for schools in the constituency have broken down without repairs or replacements.
Some of the pupils would bring mats from their houses to sit in their classrooms for learning. Some carry their mothers kitchen chairs to schools to enable them feel comfortable and receive their lessons from their teachers. But Master Orji was happy that such discomfort in their studies has ended through the provision of desks by their representatives at the National Assembly, Hon. Idu Igariwey.
“We are glad today that our suffering is now a thing of the past through our Representative in the National Assembly, Hon. Idu Igariwey, who has given us seats to relax and receive our studies. These seats are very good and it will motivate us to study hard and do well in our studies.
We are grateful to God for using this our Lawmaker to come to our rescue. We have suffered a lot and God has used Hon. Idu Igariwey to wipe our tears. We pray God to continue to bless him so that he will do more for us”, he said. Another pupil in the school, who is also in Primary six, Chukwu Job Ogbuagu, corroborated Master Orji.
He said: “I am very happy for these seats Hon. Idu Igariwey brought for us. Before, we sit on bare floor for our studies but these seats will make us not to be sitting on the floor again to receive our lesson because sitting on a bare floor was affecting our health. “At times, we will be feeling serious pains all over our bodies after sitting on the floor and it makes us not to be too strong. We are happy for this kind gesture by Hon. Idu Igariwey and we owe him for this.
The only thing we can do to make him happy is to take good care of these seats and also do well in our studies so that he will continue to remember us”. Apart from the lesson chairs and tables which were also given to head teachers and other teachers of the school, the school was also given 800 copies of 80 leaves, 60 leaves and 40 lives, 26 tick copies of short teachers note books/ diaries for the teachers, 26 Long note books for head teachers and teachers among others. Five schools in the constituency, benefited from the gesture.
They included; Mgbom Primary School Afikpo North, Nkpghoro Primary School Afikpo North, Egbebu Central School Afikpo South, Ozizza Central School Afikpo North and Itim Central School, Afikpo North. Idu, who decried conditions of schools in the constituency, said more schools would be captured in his intervention.
He said that he was deeply pained by the way the state government abandoned public schools across the state, especially those in his constituency, to decay to unimaginable levels. Igariwey expressed his impression on public schools in the state at Enohia Itim in Afikpo North Local Government Area, while flagging off the distribution of educational materials to some schools in the constituency. He lamented that public schools that are key in driving socio-economic, political and religious well-being of the society, had become neglected and that people now resorted to enrolling their children and wards in private schools that are not affordable. The lawmaker added: “In some of these state schools, there are no school furniture such as desks, tables and chairs for the pupils and their teachers.
In some cases, pupils either sit on bare floors, cement or mud blocks or other improvised platforms that are scandalously unsuitable for academic activity. “Majority of the buildings in these schools are in a total state of disrepair, as roofs and ceilings are in such messy and dangerous conditions.” Piqued by the worrisome level of dilapidation of the school structures, Igariwey pledged his readiness that he would continue to do his best to better the lots of his constituents, especially in the area of education development.
He however, urged the communities and schools that benefited from the gesture to protect and maintain the furniture for the purpose they were meant to serve, even as the lawmaker further stated that he was deploying concrete pavement to construct internal roads within Government Secondary School, Owutu Edda, and also rebuild the school’s Refectory/Assembly Hall, which had since collapsed several years ago. Igariwey, who built and donated a block of classrooms at Ejikewu Primary School in Edda, Afikpo South LGA, had also supplied science laboratory equipment/materials to many secondary schools in the constituency.
The items distributed are durable plastic seats, plastic study tables, exercise books, and office chairs and tables for the head teacher and assistant. Igariwey said action would be taken to reroof classroom blocks in schools, construct a standard culvert in school premises to safeguard the lives of the pupils, and sink a portable borehole in school premises within his constituency in the next phase. “We believe that it is good to go to school, we also believe that there is a way a school will be it will be very difficult for pupils to go to school let alone learning in such school. “Education started in Primary School.
If you didn’t pass through Primary School, you will not go to Secondary School. This is why all my focus is on Primary School because focusing on Primary School means laying good foundation in the Education sector. “If you are not taught in Primary School, you cannot know something in Secondary School. This is why I decided that the way we suffered in Primary Schools in our own time should not be what our children will go through in their own time, it shouldn’t be so.
“I am so committed more than ever to uplift the standard of learning in public schools in Afikpo North/ South Constituency; and in the strength of that, today I’ve fulfilled my promise to extend the donation of educational materials like I did in Enohia Itim Primary School, Afikpo on 11th January, 2021. Subsequently we’ll capture more schools to see that we give a raise to learning amongst our children”, he said. Mrs. Egonna Ude-Director, Egbebu Central School, Ekoli Edda, Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state, commended the Lawmaker for the gesture, describing it as first of its kind in the school. “I appreciate this young man a lot because he is not the only person that has gone to that House of Reps. Others went to the National Assembly from this constituency and we did not experience what we have experienced from him. It is only somebody that has human heart that can do this.”