Regional News of Friday, 14 March 2014

Source: Ivan Heathcote-Fumador/Ultimate Radio/Kumasi

Tutor wants compensation for falling into dilapidated toilet

The teacher, whose experience of falling into a dilapidated toilet at Achianakrom Senior High School in the Ejisu Juabeng Municipality of the Ashanti region, captured national headlines, has exclusively told Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio, he deserves a compensation for what he terms a horrific ordeal.

The 45 year old teacher, whose name has been withheld, fell into a toilet in his school when he visited in the midst of invigilating mock exams. The toilet, which is near collapse, has deep cracks all over and is used by both teachers and students who say it’s a death trap.

Following Ultimate Radio’s exposure, the Ghana Education Service, GES, is making efforts to pull down the structure and build a new one. The teacher, who has since been quiet about the issue, broke his silence in an exclusive interview with Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene, and said he deserves to be compensated by his employers.

Narrating his ordeal, he recounted “I went there to free myself and in the process, I slipped. I nearly hit my head against the wall so in desperation to hold something, my hands slipped off from the wall and then my head knocked and I went into the toilet. I was there for almost one hour thirty minutes and God being so good, a student came in to free himself and he saw me and raised an alarm. The pantry workers, the teachers run in to pick me and saved my life”

“My head and my whole shoulder got in and then I couldn’t come out because I wasn’t in the right position to place myself to come out. So I didn’t want to struggle for the little energy I had in me. So I had to be there quietly because if I even shouted no one would have heard me because my head and shoulders were already inside. So it was better I kept quiet and reserve my energy for God’s intervention and that’s what exactly happened,” he narrated.

When asked whether he gulped down faeces, he said “well if they are talking about faeces all over my body, then by all means there will be faeces and urine all around and its perfect for them to say so.”

He however said he and his colleague teachers could not paint the true picture to the hospital staff at the Ejisu Government Hospital where he was sent after the incident. He says the pantry men and some of his colleague teachers brought in soapy water and gave him a “thorough bath of his life” and offered him new clothes before sending him to the hospital.

“When we went there, we just told them that, I just had a small accident. They didn’t even see my bruises. I just told them I fell and we feel like seeking medical attention. They just injected me and gave me some Paracetamol and I went home” he stated.

Although the teacher appears physically fit and healthy, since all bruises on him have completely healed, he admits the incident has had some psychological toll on him as students have begun behaving funny whenever they see him either teaching or passing by, which sometimes gets at him.

He told Nana Oye Diabene, “I am not comfortable especially after the news came out. Now the students, they look at me and when you are teaching, instead of concentrating on what you are saying, they start observing your movements here and there. Besides, even those I don’t teach, whenever I am passing, they can suddenly turn somewhere indicating someone has said something and I know it is all about me,” he lamented.

He is however not contemplating leaving the school or seeking transfer as by his conviction it was just an accident and one never knows what lay ahead in another school. He said he was strong willed and “unless any authority had any reason best known to them to transfer me, I will still be there and I don’t really mind,” he stated.

He said his family of four had a hard time accepting the news but admitted apart from his eldest son who is now eighteen years; they had all taken it in good faith. He has a wife and three children with the youngest child a year and half old.

The teacher is however disappointed that no one from the Ministry Of Education had extended to him any morsel of concern except for his headmistress, and the Ashanti Regional Education Directorate which has called to enquire of his health after the incident.

For the Ministry of Education, maybe it is through this interview that they will hear me,” he said in disappointment.

“If today they say that because of what happened we feel like giving you something, I will not reject it. I am a human being and I need to survive. It’s up to them; they are not kids. They are matured; they know what a situation of this nature can bring and if a person has been able to pull himself together and said hei! Look, no matter the situation I am going to work there, it’s fine, they have to decide. They are hearing me now. I hope one day, the best teacher award, I will be put there and may be, go on to win a national award because I am a very hard working teacher” the inspirational teacher said.

Baffled by the unconcerned nature of authorities, he inquired, “If I were in the police service or any other service, do you know what they would do?

He also expressed grave sentiment with the Ghana National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) for showing no concern about his plight. As a member, he felt let down because none of the executives of NAGRAT of which he is a devout due paying member had made a single phone call to ask of his welfare.

He said “the Ashanti Regional Directors are aware of this and they are the people who recommend people for promotions so they themselves can do this if only they wish to do it. They are human beings and they have feelings. They know what I have gone through and most people wouldn’t have gone through this and taken it lightly”.

The teacher, travels from Abuakwa in the Kumasi Metropolis to Achianakrom in the Ejisu-Juabeng Municipality on daily basis due to lack of accommodation for teachers in the school.

He was however appreciative of the support, sympathy and concern the public have demonstrated for his quandary since the incident broke on Ultimate Radio 106.9 in Kumasi.