Ihiagwa Secondary School is situated at the North-western end of Ihiagwa in Owerri West local government Area of Imo-State Nigeria. It is about one kilometre from Nkwo-Ukwu market and is bordered by the Otamiri River for about half of the its size. The area of the compound is well defined and is over sixty five hectares.
The institution was founded to satisfy the yearning desire of the community to give education to their people. The school sprang up entirely from the community effort and after the erection of the first classroom blocks, it was handed over to the Imo State School Management Board. The community regarded this as their own contributions towards the widening of Secondary Education opportunities in the state in particular and the country in general.
The school project was commenced early in 1978 when there was an upsurge of launching of secondary schools projects in every community in Imo State following the introduction of Universal Free Primary Education in the country.
The philosophy of this school which serves as its goal is “Labour, Diligence and Success”. Thus from the beginning of the school all the teachers were poised to reached this goal enshrined in the school symbol, Banner and Badge.
THE SCHOOL PROGRAMME
The school was approved to open in December 1978 and the first enrollment into class one commenced early in January, 1979, under the management of Mr. A. I. Nwosu, the first principal of the institution. The student population at this teaching stage was eighty one (81) and it consisted of three streams of class one with five teachers on the staff namely; Mr. A.I. Nwosu (Principal), Mr. B.C Enyiegbulam (Senior Tutor), Mr. C.E. Uwaleke (Games Master), and Miss L.U. Ofurum (Library Mistress). During the same academic year the first members of the Board of Governors were appointed under the chairmanship of Mr. H.E. Madufor. The members were so dedicated that their co-operation helped immensely in the progress of the school.
In March 1980, the second members of the Board of Governors were appointed, headed by the popular fire-brand of Ihiagwa, Mr. C.U. Igwe-Onu.
SECOND SCHOOL YEAR 1979/80
The population of the school rose considerably in this academic year to 218. There were altogether seven streams made up of four streams in class one and seven streams made up of three streams in class two. In the same way the number if the teaching staff increased to twelve.
During this period or year, the executive members of parents/teachers Association headed by Mr. Anthony Ekeopara and Mr. H.E. Madufor as the chairman of the Board of Governors embarked upon the erection of the Administrative Block with the meagre-resources at their disposal.
THIRD SCHOOL YEAR 1980/81
During the 1980/81 academic year, the population of the school rose by over a hundred percent to 518. The enrolment consisted of five streams in class one, five streams in class two and three streams in class three. The year also witnessed similar increase in the number of teachers which rose to 17.
In this academic session the immense good understanding existing between the pioneer principal and the community was crystalised in the commencement of the building of a “Multi-purpose Hall” initiated by the respected women of Ihiagwa, though they called it a refectory. The women combined their financial contributions with rendering of manual labour to quicken the on-going projects.
FOURTH ACADEMIC YEAR 1981/82
During this session, the school population increased to 680. There were altogether eighteen streams: five in class one, five in class two, five in class three and three in class four.
The Imo State Education Board, on its part, improved the equality of the teaching staff. There were altogether three graduate teachers, four N.C.E. graduates, two Senior Grade One Masters and ten other grades not below pivotal teachers.
During the early stage of the school, Ihiagwa Secondary School offers mostly courses in the Grammar School subjects namely English Language, Igbo Language, Literature in English, Bible Knowledge, History, Geography, Mathematics; Others are Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science and Integrated Science. Additional subjects introduced are Economics, Commerce and French.
Great emphasis laid in Agricultural Science does not end with classroom lectures but it is widened to stimulate the students in practical work. To this end the school succeeded in acquiring a large parcel of land though its development is hampered by the thick virgin forest. So far the students are seriously engaged in planting of cassava, yams, maize and vegetables. Plans are underway to get help from the Agricultural Officers at A.D.V Nekede, to help the school in raising pine-apple orchards and oil palm plantation. The school also intends to introduce poultry faming. The above situation was of-course during the early 80’S and things might be different today.
EXTRA CURRICULA ACTIVITIES
In an effort to meet the demands of the students, the students were not only confined to the four walls of the classroom but are also given regular training in extra-curricular activities to ensure a balanced development. Some members of staff have shown their keen interest in organising various clubs, societies, games and sports in which the students have actively participated. The following societies are operating very well as at the initiation of the school in the late 70’S and today have improved immensely.
- Literary and Debating Society
- Cultural Society
- Dramatics Society
- Geographical Society
- Press Club
- Fan Club
GAMES AND SPORTS
The school programme lays emphasis in Games and sports of which soccer, Table Tennis, Volley ball, Races, Marching etc form an integral part of games and sporting activities. Despite the financial constraint plaguing most schools, this school has endeavoured to provide Jesseys, Javelin, Discuss, Table tennis and nets for regular practice. Our boys and girls have in several occasions reached finals or semi-finals in football matches and athletics organised by the Local Government.
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
The building of Ihiagwa Secondary School was the brain child of the community of Ihiagwa. It is basically a neighbourhood school at the initial stage of development. During the difficult days, the various church organisations responded to the appeal of the P.T.A Chairman by supplying tipper loads of sand for the construction of the administration block. In the 1981/82 session the need for a science block was so pressing that some pessimists had to desert the school for the older ones. Thanks to the Ihiagwa Central Executive which organised the community to embark upon the exercise. It is note-worthy to mention that before completion of the building, the state education Board donated science equipments worth about N60000 (Sixty thousand Naira) to the school.
By March 1982 the community had completed the work on the fittings and supplied furniture for the science blocks. The school was inspected on the 19th, 25th and 31st March 1982 for approval to sit for the General Certificate of Education.
In September 1982 the Ministry of Education and West African Examination Council released the result of the inspection. Thus the school was approved to take all the science subjects and the general papers in the school curriculum.
By 1982 the school has come to stay though not without problems. With the approval of the school, there is urgent need to provide classroom blocks to accommodate the class five students and encourage expansion of the existing classes.
Besides this, there is erosion menace on the compound and this is aggravated by the sand excavation in the Otamiri River. It is hoped that the provision of the infrastructures will improve as the community has enjoyed a period of hard work and success.