Umuka Community in Okposi Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has held a summit to devise ways to make primary and secondary schools in the community more functional. The Umuka Progressive Union (UPU) organized the summit, which was held virtually. Prominent people from the community as well as the village head (Chief Okorie Irem) participated in the event. The resource persons stressed the need for increase in government funding, community involvement and other steps to get the schools function better.
Prof. Peter-Jazzy Ezeh, professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; and Doctors Okereke John Ugwu and Uche Iburu of the Department of Banking and Finance and the Department of Industrial Physics at Ebonyi State University (EBSU) respectively served as the resource persons. The UPU President General, Elder Emenike Okorie, in his welcome address, expressed concern that quality education was becoming elusive in the two primary schools and one secondary school in the community.
An educational foundation had been functional in the community.
Okorie explained that the education summit was put together to brainstorm on how to improve the schools in the community, as well as ensure that children in the community get the right kind of education that will make more useful to themselves, the community and society at large. According to him, an education foundation had been active in the community in the past. The foundation worked in collaboration with the leadership of the union and the community to strengthen education in the area.
He opined that the foundation should be revived so that the good work can also come back and make the school functional. He said that quality education at the community’s grassroot level has been destroyed. As a result, the youth of the community no longer have the privilege that many adults from the community had when they were younger and attending schools in the area. So, these children leave the school as misfits and illiterates who cannot defend their certificates in exams such as the UTME and competitive recruitment testing opportunities.
Session was to brainstorm solutions to rescue children.
In his words, “We are here to generate solutions on how to rescue and reposition Umuka children, and stop them from ending up in the streets of Onitsha, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and elsewhere as vendors of Gala and other inconsequential items, or remaining at home as disposable political thugs and candidates of cultist groups.” He stated that going forward, the stakeholders should refresh and invigorate the Umuka Educational Foundation with new leadership for greater achievements.
The president also said that the participants should build on the online summit by holding a physical one in the community itself. This will help to sensitize the people at home on the direction that the people are going. It is very important to transcend the virtual plans so that the people can be carried along. When a big project is being launched in the area, the people would already be aware and it would be easy to get volunteers to make it a success.
Schools build the educational foundation of a community.
Education is said to be the key to unlocking the potential of the next generation. This is because it stimulates the mind and ensures that every individual can think on his or her own. It is at the primary and secondary school levels that this can be done. At that time, the mind is still flexible and the children can be shaped to become what the community and Nigeria can benefit from. The foundation can undertake projects that ensure that children can get access to free education, a serene environment and many other resources.