Asegramms : A Community’s Attempt To Reinvent It’s Education

The Oasis Reporters

January 30, 2017

Renovation of the Principal’s house in progress.
Photo : Oasis Media (December 3, 2016 )
Wood arrives for the roofing of both the principal and Vice principal’s quarters.
(Photo: Oasis Media (2016)
Classrooms in the foreground beyond the football field, crying for urgent attention.
(Oasis Media. 2016)
The main entrance into the school.
Photo : Oasis Media, 2016.
The football field.
The school can do with a lawn mower, to save more time for studies.
Oasis Media photo (2016)

 

 

Ase Community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria, has a long history with education.

Just like Europe and other parts of the world, Ase community had it’s own robust system of educating it’s young ones in informal settings and the subjects handled by superior age grades included the geographic reading of it’s environment, reading of signs in the forest, detecting various forms of noise with accurate analyses, understanding the climatic patterns of the land and studying fish movements and life cycle in the Ase river by the community.

 

The list was not exhaustive for it included learning swimming, canoe carving, reading the smell of the soil to detect fertility and times of planting, as well as ancient folklore and history of the people.

 

All that was soon to undergo changes when the old Prussian Army invented the idea of a formal classroom, where children are gathered and taught according to their ages in what became known as Germany today.

When the British colonial administration arrived in Ase, the strategic position of the community became apparent, leading to the establishment of the Royal Niger Company in Asaba – Ase, the southernmost quarter in Ase, as a Depot to receive produce from the Western hinterlands of the Isoko and  Urhobo lands for direct shipment to England via the Ase Creek through River Nun, River Niger and to the sea. 

 

To have enough educated manpower, a primary school was established, called Ase Clan School, run by the Anglican missionaries in 1925.

 

Ten years later in 1935, the Roman Catholic Mission responded with it’s own St. Michael’s Catholic School. These two schools served the clan and Ase became the seat of the colonial  Court, with jurisdiction extending to as far as Ughelli in the Urhobo hinterland.

 

Furthermore, in the mid 1950s, the Western Regional government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo established a Modern School which prepared it’s students either for a higher working life or entrance into Secondary Grammar Schools. 

When Modern Schools were eventually phased out, Ase community thought of what best to do with the structures so they dreamt of a secondary Grammar school, more so as development had become land based as opposed to navigation on waters, with the community not having motor able roads to make smooth, the journey to education upland for it’s teeming youths.

The obstacles were that getting the government to build a school for a community was a political decision and the odds did not favour the Ase community, which decided to resort to self help, by taxing it’s indigenes to build a secondary school first, before the State government would grant the permit and send teachers.

 

Mr. George Ezeagu Iwubeh, a school headmaster was chosen as the Building committee Chairman, working with Mr. Enuagu Chukwuyenum, also a teacher and later a headmaster. The duo did their best to coordinate the building project and deliver the classrooms, Staff office and two staff quarters for the Principal and Vice Principal .

Public spirited individuals made sundry donations like Chief Johnbull Eke, who donated a block of three classrooms.

A. C. Oyibo donated an electric power generating set, as examples, amidst many other donors.

An electric power generating set, donated by Mr. Oyibo, himself a school principal (left), being received by the first Principal of Ase Grammar School, Mr. Azenubi Inoma in the late 70s.

Men and women of the community all engaged themselves in physical labour to deliver gravel, sand and every other item needed for the smooth completion of the project. 

In 1978, the school formally opened with Mr. Azenubi C. Inoma, B. A. Ed, (Nsukka ) , M.Ed (Temple, Philadelphia) as the first school principal.

In it’s 39 years of existence, the school has produced eminent citizens in the country, with many playing high profile corporate roles in the business community.

 

 

But now, it’s facilities have gone into disrepair and the government is showing no interest in reviving them. Therefore the community has launched a 50 Million Naira Appeal Fund for the rehabilitation of the school as well as taking it to the next level in the new Information Technology age of education.

With the little amount realized so far, work has already commenced, with so much left to be done.

 

The Organizing Committee hereby appeals to all old boys and girls, living in the diaspora as well as within the country to respond generously to it’s appeal for funds. The community and neighboring communities are urged to key into this and leave a worthy legacy for generations yet unborn.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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