This is where everything began for most of us. Our dream to be lawyers, engineers, accountants, journalists, teachers and university professors started in this school-Kejo Primary School. For many of us who were born and raised in Sombo Kejo Kebele, Kejo Elementry School was where we started the journey of education. We can proudly say that this school laid the foundation for what we are today.
This school always has special place in our heart. As children, we had a wonderful time at this school. Anyone who studied his/her primary education in this school, undoubtedly, does have unforgettable memories. It is the school where we counted alphabets and numbers; a school where we spent most of our childhood; a school where the teachers worked so diligently to shape our immature minds; a school where we run and jumped; a school where we learned hard work, diligence, discipline and respect to others and a school where we started believing in ourselves that we could be somebody one day.
Most of us were not sure whether we make it to college or university, but we were all sure that we could complete our primary education because we had this school closer to us. This primary school helped us to be disciplined, hardworking and competent students making us move up the ladder of education. Without Kejo Elementary School, many of us would have remained without education as we couldn’t afford to go to other distant places to receive primary education and this means joining college or university would only have been a nightmare.
This school had some wonderful teachers who devoted themselves to make sure that we received proper education. They guided us in the right direction; they motivated us; they advised us and they inspired us assuring to us that education would change our lives and that of our families.
Kejo Elementry School was established some 40 years ago to provide primary education to the children of the people who are working at Backo Agricultural Research Center (located in East Wollega closer to Backo town in West Shewa) and for farmers’ children residing nearby. At present time, this school is in the worst condition. Since its establishment, very little has changed about this school. It has never been renewed and no or little attempts were made to replace the broken chairs and tables. Its walls are cracking down. Its doors are damaged. Truly speaking, the school is falling down. May be it is waiting for strong wind that brings it down sooner or later.
Today, our young brothers and sisters seat on stones and broken benches to attend their education at this school. The classrooms are so dusty and that is seriously affecting their health. It seems that nobody is worried about this situation. Remember, all these are happening at the time, our ‘developmental’ government claims that every kebele has well organized and furnished primary schools.
The Woreda administration has no readiness to renew the school. Backo Agricultural Research Center, an institution that is found closer to the school, is doing nothing to support it. I believe that this research center has a moral responsibility to make financial or material contribution to improve the status of this school. Any organization is expected to implement projects that benefits the community in which it operates. Previously, this research center used to help the school in different ways, but currently the management of the research center is keeping a blind eye to the situation.
For now, these young children can sit on stones and pieces of flat woods to attend their study, but when the school falls, they will have no choice but quiet their education and travel to far places to get education, yet exposing themselves to dangerous situations.
I personally believe that it is time for former students of Kejo Primary School including myself to act and really do something about it. We have a moral responsibility to save this school from vanishing. Of course, the government also has the responsibility to rebuild the school to enable the young children of Sombo Kejo Keble to get education in their proximity. However, it is surprising and at the same time annoying to know that the Woreda Administration is keeping a blind eye to the situation at Kejo Elementary School. They should communicate the situation of the school to the Zonal Administration or the regional government and urge them to allocate budget for the rehabilitation of the school. They can also mobilize the community and former students to make them contribute their own share to rebuild the school.
We, the former students of Kejo Primary School, should discuss and plan how we can help the school that laid down the foundation for our success in education. Informally, I and my friends (former students at Kejo) here in Hawassa have been discussing about this, but discussion is not enough. Our principle should be, “First discussion, next action”. I know that everybody talks about supporting the school, but when it comes to action, it is zero. But now we should change that trend and commit ourselves to salvage this school. We should all get up and make some contribution. We are educated to help ourselves, our family and our community. Because we have a moral responsibility to support our community, we can’t say “this is none of our business”. Truly speaking, nothing can be more satisfying than helping our younger brothers and sisters to get education and become somebody tomorrow.
To my knowledge, more than five hundred people who attended their primary education at Kejo Primary School have graduated from universities and most of them are working in different organizations in different parts of Ethiopia and few of them are working and living abroad. This means that we have the capacity (financial) to support this school. Moreover, we can develop project proposals and take it to NGO’s or some generous wealthy individuals who can support our cause.
Dear friends, it won’t be at all fair to keep silent at the time when the school that once generously helped us to be where we are today is collapsing. Let’s cooperate and make Kejo Elementary School return to its previous status and make it continue producing brilliant students as it used to do in the previous years.