FEA­TURES All hands on deck to en­no­ble Ondo school

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Lagos

The col­lapse of post­pri­mary sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion is a source of con­cern to lovers of ed­u­ca­tion, and those who were moulded to great­ness by the same sys­tem. To say that the stan­dard has col­lapsed would be apt in putting the sit­u­a­tion in a proper per­spec­tive. From cultism, gang­ter­ism, ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tices, sex­ual abuse and above all the de­crepit state of school in­fra­struc­tures, the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem has suf­fered years and years of ne­glect, re­sult­ing in loss of glory by many schools that were hith­erto true citadels of learn­ing.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment Girls’ Col­lege Akure (FEGGICOLLA) lo­cated in Ondo state is one of the unity schools in Nige­ria es­tab­lished on Oc­to­ber 28, 1977. The school since in­cep­tion has turned out 35 sets and pro­duced women who have be­come suc­cess­ful women in busi­ness and gov­ern­ment.

As the school cel­e­brates 40 years of ex­is­tence in Oc­to­ber 2017, the Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion of the school has taken up the chal­lenge of bring­ing back the old glory of the school ,which has equally been a vic­tim of the woes be­dev­il­ing ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try. Con­scious of the se­cu­rity chal­lenge in the coun­try and the need to se­cure the fu­ture of the girl-child, the as­so­ci­a­tion formed some years ago has launched a project to pro­vide se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture, lights, class­rooms, dor­mi­to­ries, lab­o­ra­to­ries and bore­holes for the school.

The as­so­ci­a­tion is wor­ried by the dwin­dling for­tunes of its Alma Mater and is there­fore gal­va­niz­ing mem­bers spread across the world to give back to the school. A fund-raiser was held in Lagos re­cently to raise N100m for the projects set aside to lift the school and com­mem­o­rate its 40 an­niver­sary. Apart from be­ing an oc­ca­sion to so­licit funds for the schools, it was also a re­union for the old stu­dents who were re­splen­dent and rel­ished the old mem­o­ries of their days in FEGGICOLA.

But the mer­ry­mak­ing did not over­shadow the im­port of the gath­er­ing. They were pained by the sit­u­a­tion of their alma mata – the col­lapsed in­fra­struc­tures, in­se­cu­rity, lack of elec­tric­ity and other fa­cil­i­ties that could make learn­ing much more seam­less. How­ever, they see the chal­lenges as an op­por­tu­nity for them to come in and give back to the school , which pre­pared them for who they are in all facets of life.

To the Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, N100m may be a huge amount, but with the com­mit­ment and se­ri­ous­ness of the mem­bers, they could raise more than that which would be spent on re­build­ing the school and restor­ing the old glory.

Manag­ing Di­rec­tor/Chief Ex­ec­u­tive – Agi­lent Wire­less Ltd, Mr. Lawrence Anire­juor­tise Wil­bert who is also a prod­uct of Unity School was the guest speaker at the fund-raiser who raised con­cern about the de­clin­ing stan­dard of learn­ing even in the Unity Schools.

He said, “There is con­sid­er­able ev­i­dence on the qual­ity of schools for poor peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, the schools are poor. Teach­ers are less qual­i­fied and of­ten less likely to come to work, fewer hours of in­struc­tion are of­fered, teach­ing meth­ods em­pha­size rote learn­ing more than in­ves­ti­ga­tion, text­books and in­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als are less likely to ar­rive on time, and the phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture of the school is more likely to lack elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, san­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties and other ba­sic fea­tures. The qual­ity of school af­fects learn­ing, progress and com­ple­tion.”

The lec­turer also lamented the ne­glect of the girl-child in pro­vi­sion of qual­i­ta­tive ed­u­ca­tion, say­ing the girlchild has been sub­jected to dis­crim­i­na­tion, es­pe­cially in the north­ern parts of the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to him, the trend must change in or­der to safe­guard the fu­ture of the girlchild.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “The girl child suf­fers from low self­es­teem, when pref­er­ence is of­ten made to the boy child, par­tic­u­larly in the home.

“Higher sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to re­pro­duc­tive or­gan ill­nesses and other ill­nesses as­so­ci­ated with early child birth and sex­ual vi­o­lence, lead­ing to in­fer­til­ity and com­pli­cated as­so­ci­ated health chal­lenges that fur­ther im­pact the num­ber of girls that can ad­vance their ed­u­ca­tion.

“A num­ber of stud­ies have shown that in­creas­ing the num­ber of girls ben­e­fit­ing from ed­u­ca­tion has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on a coun­try’s per capita eco­nomic growth.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, gov­ern­ment must strengthen anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion leg­is­la­tion and also re­li­giously im­ple­ment the United Na­tion Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDG) es­pe­cially goal five which seeks to end all forms of sex­ual abuse on the fe­male chil­dren.

He stressed that the pro­vi­sion of safe and sup­port­ive ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ments is needed, free from abuse, with sep­a­rate toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and safe drink­ing wa­ter for the girlchild..

“The school cur­ricu­lum should be re­vised to en­sure gen­der and cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity, and to in­clude life skills, HIV/ AIDS ed­u­ca­tion, cit­i­zen­ship and con­flict res­o­lu­tion el­e­ments.”

Pres­i­dent of the Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, Orie Mong Vann stressed that the old stu­dents were pro­pelled by the love they have for their school to launch the N100m project, which would com­ple­ment other ini­tia­tives they have put in place in the past.

“…We are do­ing what we are do­ing, build­ing the fu­ture of our girls. In line with this, we in­tend to pro­vide se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture for the school, pro­vid­ing il­lu­mi­na­tion to the streets, class­rooms, dor­mi­to­ries, lab­o­ra­to­ries and bore­holes us­ing the so­lar en­ergy and re­in­forc­ing the perime­ter fence. This was borne out of the se­cu­rity threat in the coun­try. We there­fore im­plore those of you present and other well mean­ing Nige­ri­ans to con­trib­ute to this im­por­tant project.”

To the old stu­dents of the school, the project is big­ger than the as­so­ci­a­tion. One of the old stu­dents, Mrs. Morenike Awosika who spoke from Mary­land, US said, “I am part of some­thing big­ger than my­self, some­thing we can put to­gether to lift the stan­dard of our alma mater and the ed­u­ca­tion of girl-child.” Ms. Oseyemi Fag­bamigbe said the re­al­ity on ground at the school is pa­thetic. This, she noted, ex­plains the com­mit­ment of the Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion to raise the stan­dard of the school. “We want to il­lu­mi­nate the school, the dor­mi­tory, the lab­o­ra­to­ries. So we need to ex­tend this to peo­ple we know, our fam­ily mem­bers, and our col­leagues at work to sup­port this course.”

Prin­ci­pal of the School, Mrs. Rose Ide­hen said the in­ter­ven­tion of the old stu­dents is very wel­come to com­ple­ment the ef­forts of gov­ern­ment. She said, “Well, I took over as prin­ci­pal in Fe­bru­ary this year and some­time ago in 2013, I came to the school for in­spec­tion and when I came to be­come the prin­ci­pal, there are some slight dif­fer­ences. The re­duc­tion in PTA levy has af­fected some of our ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Now that the old girls are cel­e­brat­ing their 40 years, the school will quite ap­pre­ci­ate that ar­eas of in­ter­ven­tion; the se­cu­rity and the so­lar sys­tem they pro­posed will be very good. It will add to the life of the school be­cause we have chal­lenges with elec­tric­ity and it is quite ex­pen­sive gen­er­at­ing through al­ter­na­tive en­ergy, which is the diesel and petrol. It would be very good if they bring this so­lar pow­ered light.”

Pho­tos: Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu

A por­tion of the school en­vi­ron­ment.

En­trance to the school

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