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Regional News of Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Source: Daily Mail

JHS students at Akokoammon St. Martins Basic School study in a kitchen

Teaching and learning activities at Akokoammong St. Martins Basic School in the Ejisu Municipality of the Ashanti region is likely to grind to a halt soon, as final year junior high school students have been forced to study in a kitchen.

The school lacks the necessary infrastructure and are therefore calling on the government, corporate institutions and well-meaning Ghanaians to come to their aid.

While JHS 2 students occupy a stand-alone uncompleted block, the JHS 1 students have had to bear with the distraction of sharing classes side by side with kindergarten children reciting rhymes and dancing circle time.

An Ultimate News’ visit to the school in August, saw a deserted, empty compound because of the COVID-19 restrictions; except for final year students taking classes ahead of their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

A Basic Design and Technology teacher, Samuel Acquah affectionately called “Oh! Prof” lamented that teaching under such conditions was discomforting.

“When it rains, this class you see here is full of water. There is no door and sometimes when you are teaching, cocks and even lizards can just enter the class and destruct the class activities.”

“Sometimes you will find students smiling as if they were enjoying your lessons only to find out that they are rather looking outside enjoying something else happening there because we don’t have windows,” he added.

The school authorities told Ultimate News that on a normal school day, JHS 1 students have classes with Kindergarten 1 and 2 pupils while children in nursery school put up in a store room.

The school has no urinal and toilet facilities, and resort to the nearby bushes as places of convenience for the over 400 students and their teachers.

With no staff common room, the teachers sit under trees to mark exercises and prepare lesson notes.

Some final year JHS students told reporter Ivan Heathcote–Fumador that revision has been difficult as facilities like libraries and computer labs are absent; even as the BECE approaches.

“Our classroom blocks are not good enough to support students. We also find it difficult to learn ICT because we have no computers and we only learn according to the pictures in the text books,” a female student shared.

The Headmistress, Elizabeth Sarkodie was worried the situation is adversely affecting academic work especially for girls who stay away from school during their time of the month.

“We don’t even have a complete block for junior high school. When the girls menstruate, they don’t want to come to school because there is no place for changing so on a weekly and monthly basis you see most girls absent from school,” she relayed.

The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is already fed up with incessant calls on the Ejisu Municipal Assembly which have all fallen on deaf ears.

PTA Chair for the school, Adu Amankwah’s only hope was for their plea to reach the government and other bodies, to come to the aid of the school.

He was livid why the traditional authorities would only engage in chieftaincy disputes and sell lands to real estate developers without using part of the proceeds to support the only government school in the town.

The Ejisu Municipal Education Directorate however appeared helpless.

Circuit Supervisor for Tikrom, Kwasi Asare Bediako indicated that there have been attempts to lobby the community and the traditional authorities to make contributions to provide facilities for the school but all have fruitless.

Comparing the deplorable conditions of this school to other well-endowed schools only reveals a huge gap of inequalities as candidates are expected to write the same exit exams under the same grading system.

The state of affairs of the Akokoammong St. Martins M/A Basic School paints a bleak picture about the country’s commitment to UN SDG 4 which does not only demand education for all but requires that governments provide all facilities that allow children to attain their fullest potential in education under a conducive environment.

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