By Dayo Johnson
By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—HUNDREDS of secondary school buildings across Ondo State are in such a deplorable state.
Most of the schools that are over three decades old have been left to rot away by successive administrations in the state.
The immediate past government abandoned public schools across the state and went on a spending spree by wasting billions of tax payers’ money to build what it called Mega Primary schools.
Vanguard investigations showed that the ageing classroom buildings are depressed in the middle, indicating that they might cave-in any time.
This could endanger the lives of students and teachers.
Coupled with this unpardonable neglect by successive administrations, the recent rainstorm in the state further damaged many school buildings across the three senatorial districts in the state thereby adding to their woes.
Findings showed that one of the schools badly affected was the Aponmu Community High School, Akure, in Akure South Local Government Area which was founded 38 years ago and presently serves over 50 communities in Ward one of the council.
It was founded by the first civilian governor of Ondo State, Chief Adekunle Ajasin.
The school had become a burden to Parents-Teacher Association through whose efforts the school has been sustained over the years.
Dilapidating school structures
However, the May 3 rainstorm across the state worsened the situation as the Aponmu Community called on the state government to intervene.
Chairman, Parent-Teacher Association, Fashola Richard Oluwasegun told Vanguard that ”our efforts could no longer sustain the school as government had placed embargo on collection of any form of money in whatever guise.
Fashola pointed out that a three classroom block which was built by Education Trust Fund, ETF during the tenure of the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu which was meant to serve only Senior Secondary School 1 is now serving SSS 1 to SSS 3.
“The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the havoc wreaked on the school by the rainstorm on May 3, 2018 when the roofs of the main examination hall and that of other blocks caved in.
Lamenting the poor situation of the school, he said students and vice-principal now have to converge under trees in the school premises.
He said: “Before and after the May 3 rainstorm, the PTA had written series of letters, appealing for government intervention, even though their subsequent visits are yet to yield the required results.
“As a saving grace, the hall that was being used for meetings by PTA is now partitioned to accommodate two classrooms even as students of SSS 3 are writing NECO examination in an un- conducive environment.”
Students express displeasure
Many of the students, who spoke with Vanguard, expressed displeasure over the poor learning condition in their school, adding that government should be alive to its responsibilities by providing classrooms for them.
Another school in a bad shape, Agbaode/Orimolade Grammar School Ikare, in Akoko North-East Local Government Area of the state, is begging for government intervention.
Coincidentally, the school was equally established 38 years ago through collaboration between the Ondo State Government and Iyometa Community to immortalise the first Owa-Ale of Ikareland, the late Oba Agbaode.
The late monarch was said to have founded Ikare in 13th Century and the founder of Cherubim & Seraphim Church worldwide, Saint Moses Orimolade who hailed from Ikare.
The school had suffered neglect by government for years, leaving the community, through the PTA, as major financier except the payment of staff salary.
Findings by Vanguard showed that notable personalities had passed through the school both as students or teachers.
A visit to some schools, especially in the remote areas, showed that students are learning under harsh environments.
Many of the students especially those in junior classes, put on more than one clothe because of the wind that blows into the classrooms which have no windows.
Some of the schools in Ikare having collapsed and dilapidated structures include Agolo High School, Osele High School, Ansarudeen (AUD) Grammar School and Ikare Grammar School.
Vanguard was informed by a teacher in AUD Grammar School in Ikare that the school established in 1962, had produced many professionals, political and religious leaders including the founder of Synagogue Church, Pastor T.B Joshua.
A student told Vanguard that “Whenever it rains, the students feel discouraged to come to school because the classrooms are flooded while teachers also work in terrible conditions, the PTA is doing its best but Ondo State Government’s attention is needed urgently.”
A retired teacher, Ojo Dada said: “AUD Grammar School used to be our pride in Akoko, especially the people of Ikare, Ogbagi, Arigidi and Irun, the ensuing accommodation crisis compelled the school to abolish its long-established boarding system. The hostels were then converted to classrooms, and even the existing classrooms are no longer conducive.”
Ondo govt reacts
The Information and Orientation Commissioner, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi while reacting to the dilapidating state of public schools across the state assured that government would do something about the dilapidated buildings.
Olowolabi said: “The state government has awarded over 500 contracts for the renovation of primary schools across the state.
“If the immediate past administration in their eight years had embarked on renovation of schools, there would not have been dilapidated buildings in schools across the state.
“If one government in one year awarded over 500 contracts for renovation of public schools; if every government before us had been doing that, there will not be dilapidated schools in Ondo State today.
“This particular school you mentioned, I am sure the Ministry of Education must have sent people there, to assess the state of the school and I believe something will be done about it as soon as possible. I can assure you that no school will be left in a state of dilapidation in Ondo State.”