Have you ever gone into the premises of Arochukwu Central School II in Obinkita located inside the premises of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Amaeze Parish? Aro News correspondent had the need to be there recently, and it was discovered that the mud buildings constructed (perhaps) by the Native Authority administration of pre-Independence Nigeria still serve as classrooms for our kids.
The long, wooden sticks used to ‘wall’ the house are still there and have not been replaced with block walls when Aro News visited.
Where mud walls exist, the cement coatings have since peeled off in several places, thus exposing the ancient mud wall.
It is an ugly specter that assaults the sensibilities of visitors. The cement used for plastering the wall had fallen off a different spots thus exposing the mud blocks.
It’s a constant reminder, that age has taken a toll on the structure. And more importantly, it is literally begging for the attention of those who can help give the structure a face lift.
Indeed nature has been so magnanimous that no section of the wall has ever been reported to have caved, endangering the students.
On some parts of the school, the bamboo sticks were used to serve as doors, or to construct such doors, or further converted into doors, while on other parts, such doors are made up of other sticks held together by strings to serve as entrance gates! Altogether, the scenery becomes an eyesore to behold!
In one of the open classrooms, the pupils were seen sitting on damaged and broken benches and studying under falling-off and broken ceiling sheets ‘which had been here before the war,’ according to one of the teachers who spoke to Aro News under condition of anonymity.
According to her, ‘each time it rains, all the air in motion (wind) would scatter our teaching materials including pieces of papers and exercise books just as the children will be exposed to coldness from splashing rainfalls and, at times, such children will be drenched, as some portions of the classrooms leak profusely. It is a terrible and regrettable situation.’
Another person who said he was conducting extra lessons for WAEC/NECO candidates at the school when Aro News visited and who spoke on the issue remarked that ‘the state of this school tells any visitor that no official of the local education authority has ever visited and seen the dilapidated state of the building here in recent times. Otherwise, they should have ordered the demolition and pulling down of the charred and ugly mud houses which our pupils still use as classrooms in today’s world. I challenge them to come and see the deplorable state of the mud houses still in use in Arochukwu Central School, Obinkita today! The state of the mud and half-walled buildings in the school clearly shows that many Aros do not care about the health and educational development of Aro pupils!’
He continued by saying that ‘they say they feed school children in Abia state today during which time billions of naira are expected to be spent. Do you think the ugliness of these mud, open-air and half-walled, falling-off buildings in the school will allow the pupils there to eat such food if at all the handlers of the feeding programme will go to the place with the food? They should first of all pull down the mud and dilapidated school buildings in the school and rebuild them before taking food to the pupils. Personally, I will never send any of my children to this school until the building infrastructure is improved upon. This school could be likened to a prison yard now!’
Really, the sorry state of some of the buildings that currently house Arochukwu Central School II Obinkita (located within the premises of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria) does portray the Local Government Education Authority, Arochukwu, and the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board, Umuahia, in good light; rather, it may be portraying officers of these bodies as people who do not care for our pupils whose educational future and care has been placed on their shoulders; even though there are about three UBE, Third Quarter 2010 buildings within the premises of the school.