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A Reminiscence Of Secondary School Days - Nairaland / General - Nairaland

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A Reminiscence Of Secondary School Days by ajuksobi: 10:31pm On Aug 05, 2023

Ajukura, Fidelis O.
5th August, 2023.

A secondary school is an institution that provides secondary education. It is that stage of formal education that follows primary school and precedes higher education. Secondary education is not strange in our society as many people have passed through it.

In the past, when higher education was not very common, secondary school was regarded very highly. Secondary school graduates were believed by many to have reached the apogee of education. Those who attended secondary school in the 50's, 60's and even 70's were accorded immense respect. Some of them were, in one way or another honoured in their various communities. For instance, the former Oba of Ogba land, Chukwumela Nnam Obi 11 as a graduate of Sancta Maria High School, Omoku in the 60's was believed by many people to have reached the zenith of formal education. In those days, only privileged few went to secondary school and at the end of their study occupied juicy positions in the organizations they found themselves.

One thing that was significant about secondary schools in those days was discipline. Students were trained not only in the area of learning but in character. They were moulded to become enlightened and better people in the society. During holidays when students returned home, the difference was always clear - they conducted themselves in a decent and orderly manner. From the late 70's when foreign teachers began to leave the shores of the country because many indigenous teachers were ready and willing to take up their duties, the standard of secondary education began to fall. The exit of these foreign teacher signaled the birth of indiscipline in secondary schools. Majority of these indigenous teachers who were not as committed as their foreign counterparts began to gradually place the task of discipline in the hands of senior students. In this regard, Senior Prefects and others were elevated to the status of gods before the junior students. It is in this way that secondary schools became a hotbed of torture. Senior students could punish junior students without recourse to their safety and well-being. This practice continued up untill the late 90's. In many schools especially, the government schools, some senior students became outlaws such that the teacher were even afraid of them. Many parents became aware of this situation and looked for senior students they can hand their children to for the purpose of protection. These junior students automatically became servants to the senior students. Although, some of the seniors were careful not to refer to the junior students as servants but as "school sons or daughters". Yet, some of these seniors refered to the juniors placed under their care as "gays".

During this period, indiscipline increased significantly. All manner of callousness were displayed by students. I remember quite clearly how, in my school, Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt, a senior student stamped a blazing red (pressing) iron on the back of a junior student. Another boy almost lost his life as a result of excessive torture by a senior student. Following the inability of the school authorities to put an end to this callous behaviour, cult activities crept in. In this regard, many government schools became a tinderbox for cult related clashes. This development contributed immensely to the collapse of public secondary schools - many parents who could afford it, withdrew their children and sent them to private schools where the proprietors of the schools have their feet firmly planted on the ground. In these schools, nobody, including teachers have a right to maltreat pupils or students. In fact, teachers often times take permission from parents before flogging their children.

Secondary school has gone through series of changes such that a secondary school graduate or school certificate holder as they are preferably called today are almost looked upon as illiterates - they are found at the lowest rung of the ladder of every organization in the country. Nothing truly lasts forever!

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