Kogi: Okebukun High School and Infrastructural Challenges

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Basic infrastructures are no doubt a fundamental in assuring quality education and overall educational development.  Such infrastructures are the basic facilities and capital equipment needed for its proper functioning. The importance of basic infrastructure to education cannot be overemphasized. These infrastructures can come in the physical structures such as buildings – good classrooms, well equipped laboratory, adequately shelved library, conducive staff room, sport facilities, good landscape, conducive hostels among others.
On the top of this structure comes good management team. A soothsayer is not needed to predict what the effects of having the above listed items will have on the quality of education in such a school. The ripple effects of its inadequacy could spell mean doom.
Without going into much history, it could be said that Okebukun High School has always had its share of infrastructural challenges over the years, which is not a peculiar problem but a common denominator among other rural community schools. It is no history that the school is a product of community efforts that bore its birth in 1983.
It was a rural community effort that could not be compared to what a government funded project would have produced. Even as little as it could have appeared then with just few classrooms, it was a great feat achieved by the community trail blazers who had great dreams. Then and there, a seed was planted. A seed that was to grow and birth more.
No doubt, Okebukun High School has enjoyed directly and indirectly both individuals and government supports apart from the community efforts which had seen the school grown to the extent that it could accommodate a large number of student from Junior Secondary School 1 to Senior Secondary School 3 over the years. Despite the available number of classrooms, it did not rank as the best of a conducive environment for learning – some classrooms are without doors, windows, ceilings, nor floors; inadequate books in the library etc, were major features.
However, against these odds and more OHS had thrived within limited resources to produce outstanding men and women who are doing well in their chosen endeavors in the society – 9 classrooms and a hall, a 20 square meter library starved of relevant books. It grew in success that it commanded the attendance of students both from surrounding communities with or without secondary schools, including Kabba and  beyond Lokoja.
All that has become history.
It must be stated that the present helpless state of the infrastructures in the school, just as earlier stated did not start today and should therefore be largely blamed on the seeming negligence by the community and the school management. This is because as commendable as it was the effort of the community for the establishment of the school, there was no continuing effort to see to the completion of all the classrooms to the most conducive atmosphere. The only floored and plastered structures in the school with windows had been only four classrooms and the principal’s office for a long time. The school was no longer taken seriously as a community project with diligent attention to infrastructural development. Also, the school management at various dispensations has not done enough to make the classrooms more befitting and comfortable for learning.
Most of the interventions that have taken place had been a misplaced priority no matter how laudable. Hence, the dilapidation we have today as OHS. Okebukun High School has simply become a shadow of itself – a contrast to our founding fathers’ dreams.
The way forward
Considering what is on ground now, it is a project that will have to start from the scratch. There is a need for overhauling the structures by way of a total renovation. Therefore, the following are urgently needed to be carried out:
Renovation of all the classrooms – roofs, windows, doors and floors – to a befitting and conducive standard.
Construction of a larger and new library and adequately shelved with relevant books.
Re-introduction of science courses and conversion of a classroom to a laboratory that is well equipped.
Provision of comfortable learning desks.
Putting in place a good management team and experienced teachers among others.
These and more will bring about the turnaround that is desperately needed. Therefore, it requires our collective efforts to achieve these goals and the former and new glory restored.
It is possible!
– Comrade Niyi Olorunyomi

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