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General News of Thursday, 6 April 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Danger looms at Akotobinsin Methodist Primary School

A 142-year-old abandoned one-storey school building situated on the compound of the Akotobinsin Methodist Primary School in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) District in the Central Region stands in danger of collapsing and causing havoc if steps are not taken to demolish it quickly.

Barely two months ago a school building collapsed and killed six pupils of the Breman Jamera Methodist School in the Odoben Brakwa District in the same region.

Contrary to the decision by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to conduct an immediate audit of all school buildings under the service in the country to ensure pupil safety, similar threats that have been brought to the notice of the GES appears not to have been treated with the urgency it required.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Cape Coast, the Headmistress of the school, Mrs Janet Biney, said although the KEEA District Assembly, which was responsible for the demolition, had responded to the numerous petitions from the school authorities and the District Education Office to demolish the building three weeks ago, nothing had been done.

She, therefore, called on the government to expedite action on the demolition of the dilapidated structure before the unexpected occurred.

On efforts made to get the structure demolished, Mrs Biney said the school authorities had written several petitions to the KEEA District Educational Offices to facilitate the demolition to avoid the collapse of the structure.

District assembly

Mrs Biney submitted that she received a letter from the KEEA District Assembly indicating their approval to demolish the structure in early March 2017.

However, she indicated, almost a month after she received the letter, the structure was still sitting on the already small compound of the school.

Mrs Biney expressed her fear of the looming danger the building posed to the over 400 pupils in the school, residents and passers-by.

“School authorities are very worried. Anytime it becomes cloudy, we get more frightened. Although in such circumstances we are expected to keep the children in school for their safety, due to the presence of the dilapidated school block, we are forced to let the children take the risk of walking through the storms to safety rather than the building collapsing on them,” she said.

Mrs Biney said due to the level of dilapidation and the looming danger it posed to pupils and teachers, the structure was abandoned three years ago and since then, efforts had been made to get the requisite authorities to demolish it.

“But all our efforts have not produced the desired results,” she said.

Observation

During a visit to the school last Tuesday, the Daily Graphic observed that the 142-year-old dilapidated one-storey school block was full of cracks and looked very weak.

A mere look at the building could tell that it could collapse at any time, even without a storm.

However, the Daily Graphic observed that the pupils played around the building, running around it because they had limited playground space.

Although the headmistress said they had cautioned the pupils to stay away from the structure, it appeared to be invading their playing space, giving them no option.

Some officials at the KEEA District Education Office who spoke to the Daily Graphic team on agreement of anonymity submitted that the education office had taken enough steps to get the district assembly to demolish the building, but all to no avail.