The Presby Basic School at Huhunya, a farming community, in the Yilo Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region, has over the past years been using a deathtrap school building facility that poses danger to both teachers and pupils of the school.
The dilapidated basic school, built with laterite which serves the whole of the community and neighbouring communities, has been left to rot without any maintenance.
Though it’s not clear the exact year the school was established, some believe it’s over 90 years old, built under the former British administration and it is the only government basic school serving 20 communities within the area.
While the walls appear tattered, weak and unpleasant, some parts of the building have parts of the roof completely ripped off with some of the classrooms not floored at all, compelling the pupils and teachers to sit in the dusty classrooms.
Head teacher of the school, Miss Elizabeth Bansah said the school of some 400 pupils is in distress and urgent steps must be taken to salvage the situation.
She said though the stream ‘A’ block is in a good condition, that of the stream ‘B’ and the KG block are not fit to be occupied for academic activities.
The situation disrupts academic activities as the affected pupils run to join their colleagues on the other side whenever it’s about to rain.
“The stream ‘A’ has a classroom block but the stream ‘B’ where we are facing problems and then the KG so when it is about to rain they have to run to join their colleagues in ‘A’,” she said.
The Headteacher regretted that efforts to solicit support from the District Assembly and NGOs have proven futile so far.
“Some time ago we wrote a letter to the District Assembly and then we also wrote a letter to Plan International Ghana but there was no feedback,” said madam Bansah.
She also appealed for additional classroom blocks as the lack of classrooms has forced school authorities to combine some classes and also the use of the school library for classes.
“Those who are hearing us, we are appealing to them to come to our aid to help us build new block for us and then the KG block,” she appealed.
The head teacher also used the opportunity to call for the provision of electricity for the school since its absence is hampering the teaching and learning of ICT.
The Assembly Member for Huhunya Electoral Area who doubles as Parent Teacher Association (PTA) chairman of the Presby Basic School, Elder Joseph Tetteh while lamenting about the state of the structure underscored the importance of education to national development.
“This school was put up about 90 years ago and this is where we are. The building is made of laterite and now tired and a new one must be built for us. We have taken several steps to ensure that this problem is fixed but to no avail,” Mr. Tetteh said.
The situation, he added, is worsened by the onset of the rains.
Elder Joseph Tetteh says he fears for the safety of the children especially whenever it’s about to rain. He said the school is forced to close and the pupils asked to go home anytime it’s about to rain.
“Whenever it rains, the children are asked to go home even when time is not due to close because the school is in a terrible state,” he said further.
The only solution to the problem, he insisted, is to raze down the existing structure and build a new block as the standing structure is beyond renovation, to ensure the safety of the pupils as well as enhance effective teaching and learning.
“We need urgent assistance to put up new classroom blocks. This is beyond any renovation because it’s made of laterite and also very old so the authorities must come to our assistance,”
said the worried PTA chairman, adding that the building has cracks in it, which can be easily broken down by a heavy rain.
The Assemblyman thus placed a passionate call on the Yilo Krobo District Assembly, NGOs and other benevolent organisations to as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the school by putting up new classroom blocks for the pupils.
The Dadematse of the area, Nene lsaac Tetteh who spoke to GhanaWeb stated that the pupils lives were in danger studying under the deathtrap structure.
Efforts by GhanaWeb to get a response from the Municipal Education Directorate proved futile as several calls to the Public Relations Officer went unanswered.