Imo State Government: Save Amala/Ntu Secondary School from Total Rot
Written By Nwaorgu Faustinus.
Amala/Ntu Secondary School, once the glory of secondary school education in Ngor/Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State is terribly in great state of dilapidation and will closely march towards the brink of extinction if nothing expedient and urgent is done to rescue it from total decadence.
Founded in 1976, Amala/Ntu Secondary School was regard as one of the best citadels of knowledge, where discipline, punctuality, educational excellence, cleanness, morality, academic competitiveness, sports among other positive virtues were the order of the good old days. However, some of the above commendable traits seem to have eluded the school. Lateness, indiscipline and nonchalant attitude to work are now the order of day.
Amala/Ntu Secondary School one of largest schools in the Council Area, covering about two and half hectares of land, unfortunately located at the outskirts of two prominent communities Amala and Ntu from which the name of the school is derived. The school sandwiched in the middle of the forest and land belonging to the two communities was aimed at giving the communities a sense of belonging to avoid community bickering which is often associated with locating projects in one community.
Many today though belatedly are regretting while the school should be sited in such a place that is far from the two communities given unforeseen situation that has bedeviled the school which were not envisaged prior to its establishment.
Security for the school has been left in the hands of fate. The school which is about 10 kilometers from both communities has witnessed sad and disturbing decadence because of its location which has led to the vandalization of some prominent section of the school structure such as the introductory technology workshop, the auditorium or school hall, the library, Physics and Chemistry labouratory etc.
According to the Principal of Special Class and Dean of Studies of the school, Sir Godwin Chidi Amadi said, “The school is not well located, in fact it is isolated. Most of the science apparatus and spacemen for practicals have been vandalized because of lack of security. The introductory technology which was well equipped has been vandalized. The library and auditorium are not spared in this criminal act of vandalization. From late 80's till now security in and around Amala/Ntu Secondary School has been dreadfully permeable as there is no fence or barricade or security guard to monitor and protect school property or keep at bay vandals who access the school from many entrance and exit points”.
At present, the school has lost its former attraction, appeal and cynosure. During its formative years – 1976 to 1985, Amala/Ntu Secondary School was a reference point in stellar academic and sports competitions as its students made nice grades and bagged many laurels. This performance was hinged on dedication to work and training and retraining of teachers who worth their salt in various endeavours. But today the reverse is the case. This is evidenced in poor performance in sports competitions, interschool debates and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Formerly, the footpaths in the school were well maintained by regular sweeping and periodic weeding and cutting of grass on these paths. Today, these footpaths have been encroached on by elephant grass. In addition, the football pitch and entire school premises have been overtaken by grass, shrubs, weeds, herbs and trees. The atmosphere being that of a school located inside forest. Because of the challenges of poor results recorded in past Senior School Certificate Examinations, nonchalant attitude to work and academic on the part of teachers and students, limited classroom seats, poor environment for learning, delay payment of salary of teachers which gives rise to strike, inadequate teaching materials and personnel, long distance trek by students, vandalized library, labouratory and introductory technology workshop among others, have led to the exodus of students from Amala/Ntu Secondary School to mostly nearby private schools.
The above situation has occasioned a drastic depletion of students' population in the school who should have helped to keep the bushy compound clean by periodic weeding and cutting of elephant grass. As of the time this writer visited the school, the total number of students from Junior Secondary School (JSS) to Senior Secondary School (SS) was put at 137 with the exception of SS2 that has no student. A break down of the figure is here.
Total Student Population in Amala/Ntu Secondary School: May 2011
JSS 1 12 8 Boys 4 Girls
JSS 2 29 16 Boys 13 Girls
JSS 3 48 33 Boys 15 Girls
SS 1 11 6 Boys 5 Girls
SS 2 - - -
SSS3 37 18 Boys 19 Girls
Total 137 Students 81 Boys 56 Girls
Previously run as a boarding and day school, today the school operates as a day school no thanks to insecurity that pervades the place. From 1976 to mid 80's , the now dilapidated girls' hostel has the capacity of accommodating one hundred and fifty students while the abandoned, uncompleted and ramshackle boys hostel is estimated to house three hundred students. Male students at the time made use of alternative hostel referred to as calakuta. Apart from the male and female hostels, there are also teachers quarters that have four separate 3bedroom bungalows, principal quarters and kitchen section, all have falling apart. The only structure that is worth looking at is the Jss block that was renovated by Universal Basic Education in 2007.
For those who know Amala/Ntu Secondary School before and a first time visitor, the general atmosphere that pervades the area is that melancholy and desolation of a school by previous administration in the state.
With various degrees of challenges staring Amala/Ntu Secondary School in the face, it is now the responsibility of the newly inaugurated government of Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who is education friendly to save the school which is on its last legs from total collapse.
An urgent affirmative action should be taken by well-meaning old boys and girls of Amala/Ntu Secondary School as the Imo state government cannot do it all alone.
No contribution towards rebuilding and restoring the lost glory of the school is too little.
The time to act is now.
Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee, writes from Igboetche, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Mobile: +2348035601312. Email: [email protected]