Over 400 pupils stranded as storm rips off classroom roof

over 400 pupils stranded

The fate of over 400 pupils of the Manle Dada Basic and African Unity schools in the La Dadekotopon Municipality hangs in the balance after a rainstorm destroyed their classrooms.

A nine-unit classroom block and adjoining offices at the African Unity School were destroyed in May this year but they have not seen any renovation yet. In the case of Manle Dada Basic School, three classrooms out of the nine-unit block were destroyed by a rainstorm on September 22.

The Daily Graphic gathered that when the African Unity School could no longer be used for teaching and learning, all the pupils were moved to share the classrooms with their counterparts in Manle Dada Basic School. With basic schools scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, October 3, parents and teachers are anxious about the fate of the pupils as they pray for a timely intervention.

Deplorable state

When the Daily Graphic visited the two schools which share a compound last Monday, it was observed that the entire African Unity School block was in ruins. The roofs of all the classrooms were gone, with the ceiling helplessly rotting away, leaving the furniture at the mercy of the scorching sun and the rains.

It was also observed that rainwater had collected in most of the classrooms as a result. The windows and doors of the classrooms were not spared, paving the way for stray animals and mentally challenged persons to make it their haven. The story at the Manle Dada Basic School was not any different as the roofs of three classrooms of the nine-unit block had been ripped off.

A parent, Abigail Sarpong, told the Daily Graphic that it was worrying that in spite of the numerous calls by members of La South for the two schools to be renovated, the authorities had failed to do so. “The African Unity School was destroyed by a rainstorm in May this year. The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) came to the school and promised to fix it but nothing has happened yet. Schools will reopen next week and when children come, where will they sit?” she asked.

Academic work affected

A source in one of the schools, who pleaded anonymity, said since the African Unity Basic School was destroyed by a rainstorm in May this year, academic work had been greatly affected. “All the students of African Unity Basic School were moved to join their counterparts at Manle Dada Basic School.

The children share the same classrooms, the same facilities and everything; and you can imagine the pressure this puts on the limited facilities,” the source said. The source added that the situation where two teachers from different schools were made to teach two sets of pupils from different schools in one classroom was counter-productive. The source stressed that the merger of the two schools had affected teaching and learning because of the increase in class size which was beyond the recommended 30 pupils per class.

“Now that the Manle Dada Basic School has also been wiped off, it means that the pupils will have no place to sit and learn when school reopens on October 3,” the source said. Again, it said although the current state of the two schools had been reported to the La Dadekotopon Assembly and the education directorate of the area, no concrete action had been taken to repair the roofs.

Municipal Assembly Intervention

When the Daily Graphic contacted the La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly (LaDMA) to find out what the assembly was doing about the situation, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Rev. Solomon Kotey Nikoi, said urgent steps were being taken to ensure that the affected pupils had shelter.  

“It came to my attention officially yesterday (Monday) by the Municipal Education Director and we are working to resolve it,” he assured. Rev. Nikoi said LaDMA and the Municipal Education Directorate were working to keep the children in school, while measures were taken to renovate their classrooms.

“We are looking at temporarily moving the children to a new school so that when the work is done, we move them back. My education director is working on that and will advise me,” he said. He gave the assurance that LaDMA was engaging some stakeholders, including private entities, to ensure that the two schools were fixed as soon as possible.

“Puma Energy has come in to help us roof the school, so I have asked my technical men to do the estimates so that they can begin work on it,” he revealed. When asked why the African Unity School had not been roofed after four months, he said the assembly had a budgetary constraint to undertake the project since it was not budgeted for in the current budget circle. Again, he said although a contractor had agreed to pre-finance the project, they were yet to mobilise to site.
 

Caution

Responding to the issue of churches using the classrooms for their service, he said the assembly was unaware of that development. However, he said, he will deal with the issue once it came to his attention. “We do not allow churches to have service in classrooms but on our blind side, some teachers allow it to happen. If my attention is drawn to it, I act swiftly,” he stressed.

Source: Graphic Online