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Regional News of Monday, 15 January 2018

Source: 3news.com

Kasena-Nankana: Pupils of Tono JHS use blocks as desks

Pupils in Tono Junior High School in the Kasena–Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region are exposed to a grave danger in their classrooms as they sit on stacks of blocks to learn.

A visit to the school by 3news.com revealed that the once prestigious school is now in a very deplorable state with cracked and dirty walls, ‘unlockable’ doors, bad toilet and only a handful of desks for the over 60 pupils in each class.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that pupils in the school have improvised their own ‘desks’ by piling blocks and placing planks of wood over the piles.

These either served as a table or a chair depending on the height of the block stacks.

In some cases, they served as a complete desk which two or more people shared. The pupil say it is very discomforting and dangerous sitting on the blocks because the blocks or the planks sometimes fall off and hurt them but they have no choice.

Until recently, the school was one of the best schools in the municipality and has on several occasions come first in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The most recent accomplishment of the school was in 2013 when a pupil of the school, Justin Bagina ,who got aggregate six, received a presidential Independence Day award for being the best BECE graduand in the Municipality.

Poor toilet facility

Some parts of the roofing of the only toilet facility in the school have been ripped off. The concrete slaps that covered the manhole have also been broken exposing the fecal matter in the manhole. Some walls of the toilet itself have fallen apart. The pupils say it is impossible to access the toilet when it rains because it gets filled up and they fear it may sink.

No Signage

The school has no signage to identify it. It can best be described as a wretched building standing alone in a bush far away from the municipal capital. These is no inscription on the outer walls neither is there a signboard anywhere to identify the school. The pupils say there used to be a signboard but they cannot tell what has happened to it.

The Headmaster, Daniel Baloba, and Municipal Director of Education, Kye-eebo Anne Estella, have declined to comment on the issues claiming they first have to seek clearance from their superiors.

However, a close source told 3news.com that the problems of the school are largely attributable to the collapse of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR).

According to the source, the school has since the collapse of ICOUR been struggling because almost all the workers of the company whose wards constituted the majority population of the school withdrew their wards from the school. The source added that the school in now filled with wards of peasants from the neighbouring villages who can barely support the needs of the school and government is not doing enough either.

When 3news.com confronted the Municipal Chief Executive, Williams Aduum, he bemoaned the state of infrastructure in the municipality stating that “many schools in the municipality are facing the same problem and it is a worry to the municipal assembly”.

He however said plans are far advanced to equip the infrastructural needs of basic schools in the municipality citing 2 newly constructed Junior High Schools as evidence of the assembly’s effort.

According to MCE, the Ghana Education Service in November 2017 gave the Municipality 184 desks which were distributed to schools in dire need, a number he described as woefully inadequate. He further indicated that the Municipal Assembly has made a budgetary allocation in its 2018 budget to get desks for the schools.

“So you can see we are going to procure about 1000 dual desks for this year from the District Assembly Common Fund and then we are also going to procure through our DDF (District Development Facility) about 450 so in all we are talking about 1,450 dual desks for various basic schools”.

He remained optimistic that “by the end of the year, most of these problems you are seeing will be no more”.

He also added that old students can be very resourceful to the needs of their alma mater. He thus urged old students to heed the plight of their alma mater so that they can augment the efforts of the municipal assembly and the Ghana Education Service.

“The old Students of the various schools can also play a part by bringing their people together, especially those who are in very good positions, by mobilizing resources to come and also help”.