For the people of Ikot Osute Community in Oruk Anam local government area, the free and compulsory education of the state government is still a day dream. No thanks to the dilapidated classroom blocks in the only secondary school in the area which has denied children their right to education.
The school which before now had an enrollment population of over 2, 000 students, is now a shadow of its old self as the number has dropped drastically. The present state of school has forced children to abandon it. The situation is even worse during rainy season as. Students do not to go school whenever rainfalls. While few students who have means of transportation attend school in other communities that is about 10 kilometers away from the community, those that are unfortunate not to have means of transportation are forced to stay at home, thus, making nonsense of the free education policy of the government.
The Sensor correspondent who visited the school recently reports that the state of decay in the school is more than an eyesore. It was gathered that whenever rain falls, there is no school that day as virtually all the classrooms are in a terrible leakage condition. Few teachers who manage to bear the pains of teaching under such condition always go to school with their umbrella paraventure rain falls.
Speaking with our correspondent, a community leader in the area and retired Permanent Secretary in the state, Prince Akpan Solomon, decried what has befallen the school. He said that the school that was before now a pride of the state has gone so bad to an extent of abandonment despite efforts to draw government attention.
He however, renewed his call for government attention to give people of the community especially the children who are the direct beneficiary of government free and compulsory education a sense of belonging.
The Principal of the school, Mr. Emmanuel Umoh said the school is in such a terrible condition that students have either been forced out to attend school in other communities or are made to stay at home, a situation that is not good for the future of the state.
Umoh while conducting our correspondent round the school, pointed to a small room called principal office. He said the small room is where the principal and staff shared, as there is no staff room, no library, no lab.
The principal who noted that the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is a listening governor, expressed optimism that the governor will soon intervene through the Inter – Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Project. He also made case for posting of more teachers to the school.
The village head of the community, Chief Nse Peter Eteidung said that the dilapidated structures in the school have put entire community in to shame. He added that the only structure in the school was done through the efforts of the community.
As the monarch noted that aside the dilapidated school structure, there is gross lack of facilities like health care centre, water, electricity, among others.
While thanking the Governor Udom Emmanuel, and member representing Oruk Anam state constituency Sir Udo Kerian for what they have done for the people of Oruk Anam, the royal father called on them to give the people of the community a sense of belonging especially in the area of renovation of the Secondary School.
On his part, the Youth Leader of the community, Churchill Ufot Ifiaku described the state of neglect of the school as unfortunate, saying that the neglect has robbed the children who are leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to actualize their dreams. Ifiaku called for government quick intervention.
Our correspondent learnt that despite the decay infrastructure, the school still stands strong in the area of sports. Recently, the school won a third place of Obong University Football Competition organized for Secondary Schools in Ikot Ekpene sensational district.