St Andrew’s JHS in ruins - Students study under trees
The students and staff of the Saint Andrew’s Junior High School Complex at Konta, a suburb of Wa in the Upper West Region
(UWR), returned to school on October 1, only to realise that the entire school block, including the staff common room, had been reduced to ashes.
The items lost in the fire included pieces of furniture, textbooks, exercise books, computers and their accessories, as well as other learning and teaching materials.
Presently, some of the 162 students are compelled to carry along their own chairs and tables from home and sit under trees to study.
However, whiteboards and markers have quickly been procured by the parent-teacher association (PTA) and contributions from the students to ensure that the pupils and students do not miss classes.
Narrating the incident to the Junior Graphic, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Martin Gandes Nantieha, said the security man, Mr George Bagle, who was on night duty, noticed smoke coming out of one of the classrooms around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and raised an alarm for assistance but the fire could not be controlled.
Mr Nantieha said by the time the personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) got to the scene, before midnight, there was nothing to be salvaged.
The UWR Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GNFS, Mr Martin Bakobie, said his outfit received a distress call at 11:44p.m. and responded immediately by despatching a team of firefighters to the scene but it was too late.
According to the GNFS, the cause of the fire was as a result of an electrical fault.
Fortunately, the Regional Minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, accompanied by the Wa Municipal Chief Executive, Alhaji Issahaque Tahiru Moomin, and other officials of the Ghana Education Service (GES) have visited the school to assess the extent of the damage.
Alhaji Alhassan promised to work around the clock to ensure that the students do not continue to study under trees but are moved to a more conducive environment.
In an interview with a final-year student, Master Achilles Deyeni, he said, studying under the trees was very daunting considering the fact that birds, pests and insects which live on the trees leave their stinking and sticky droppings on them compelling them to wash their school uniforms daily.
Master Deyeni said the hazy harmattan winds prevailing at this time of the year in the area blow dust into their eyes while the scorching sun causes them to sweat profusely.
He also said they were often distracted by passers-by during classes.
Miss Rosezaline Bendah Antuuro, the Senior Girls’ Prefect expressed concern about the destruction of their computers which, she said, could affect their performance in Information Communications Technoloy during the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) next year.
The students appealed to individuals and benevolent organisations to come to their aid.