The lives of pupils and teachers of the Yilo State Junior High School (JHS) in the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly (YKMA) in the Eastern Region are under serious threat as academic work is conducted in an old, ramshackle building, whose roofs are partly ripped off, with visible cracks on the building itself.
It is feared that the block, built almost 80 years ago, exposes the lives of the pupils and their teachers to danger since it could collapse any moment.
Even though the one-classroom block sitting on the compound of the Yilo State School was declared a death trap four years ago, the structure is still in use.
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According to the authorities, the building was still in use because they did not have anywhere to keep the students, as an effort to stop them from coming to school would distort the academic calendar.
The structure, which has not seen any renovation since it was built, has developed deep cracks on the walls and all the pillars that hold it together have developed cracks, leaving it at the verge of collapse.
The roofing sheets are all worn out, with the sun rays pointing directly to the classroom whenever the sun is up while the wood and frames are also rotten.
Some pupils of the Sawer M/A School have to study outside due to the unavailability of decent classrooms.
On the same compound, the kindergarten (KG) and one of the primary blocks are also not in the best of shapes.
The primary block, for instance, has tilted to one direction, and could fall off any time, especially when there is a heavy storm or under the least pressure.
The KG also looks like a cage with slides of wood serving as coverage to the frontage of the block.
Head teacher’s plea
Confirming the severity of the situation to The Mirror, the Head teacher of the school, Mr David K. Ofosu, said those two blocks were not supposed to be occupied by students, but the situation had compelled management to allow that to go on for a long time.
He explained that the situation was so bad for the school, but two weeks of rainfall worsened the condition of the building.
After some portions of the roofs were ripped off after the rains, others were dangerously hanging in front of the classroom, exposing the students and teachers to danger.
Mr Ofosu further stated that he had written letters to the municipal assembly and the education directorate in the area on various occasions when he joined the school two years ago, complaining about the situation but had not received any positive results yet, except the many fruitless visits to the school.
“We are only waiting on the assembly. The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) officials were here to ascertain the extent of damage after the rain, but we are yet to hear from them at the moment.
“The state of these buildings is such that, if we do not take care, we will be here one day, and then the structures will collapse on all of us, including the children,” he noted.
New classroom block
Mr Ofosu also indicated that a 10-unit classroom block which could accommodate all the streams in the school had been left in the bush for almost 16 years after construction “because we have not been able to complete it fully.”
When fully completed, he said, it could accommodate all the over 400 students in the entire school.
Until that was done, he noted that it would be difficult to leave the dilapidated structures to occupy the new block because that was also not fully furnished.
“We are appealing to the assembly and the education directorate to come to our aid to help resolve the issue before it is too late,” he emphasised.
June 18 rain’s havoc on other schools
Meanwhile, the June 18 rains that caused havoc in many parts of the country also rendered four other schools within Somanya miserable.
The schools are Sawer Municipal Assembly (MA) Primary School, Ahabaso Primary, Somanya Municipal Assembly (MA) Primary and the Hoffnug Academy; a private school.
Roofing sheets at all the schools visited by The Mirror were ripped off, leaving some hanging at the time.
At the Sawer MA Primary School, for example, some of the pupils who did not have access to desks were compelled to use benches and other makeshift structures.
More schools in bad shape
Reacting to the story, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Ebenezer Tetteh Kupualor, told The Mirror that there were many schools within the municipality that were in bad shape, but the assembly was doing everything possible to address the situation.
“If you are taken round all the schools within Somanya, for instance, you will realise that almost all the schools’ structures are challenged, and I am working on that.
For Yilo State School, he said, after examining the situation, the assembly realised that it was not in the best shape because it was built with mud years ago, “so we have provided them with a temporary structure, as we work on the entire building.”
He siad the Somanya MA Primary had also been roofed as of last Friday.
Mr Kupualor assured all the head teachers in the area that the assembly was working assiduously to ensure that all the school buildings which were in bad shape were worked on.