Pupils at the LEKMA Southern Cluster of Schools located at Teshie in the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipality defecate openly on the school’s compound while five toilet facilities in the schools are locked.
Information pieced together by The Mirror, indicate that the facilities, four of which were renovated and one newly constructed, await inauguration before the pupils are allowed to access them.
It was gathered that the project officially commenced in 2016 under the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project and supervised by the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly (LeKMA).
It consist of two 12-seater W/C, two 10-seater W/C, and the newly constructed four-seater W/C.
It was also gathered that work on the rehabilitation of the facilities stalled for more than a year but resumed in 2017 during which the pupils were restrained from using the facility.
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Following the long wait, the pupils, most of whom are in kindergarten and lower primary, resort to emptying their bowels openly within the walls of the school in broad daylight.
About 10 separate schools make up the cluster with a student population of not less than 2,500.
The schools are: LEKMA 1, LEKMA 3, LEKMA 4, LEKMA 5, LEKMA 7, LEKMA 8, LEKMA 9, LEKMA 11, Teshie 1, and Teshie Camp 1.
When The Mirror visited the school last Monday afternoon, it found that three out of the five toilet facilities in the school had been locked.
One of the unlocked facilities was accessed only by the teachers while the other had been converted into a store room in which the construction materials including bags of cement believed to have been used for the renovation works were kept.
When entered, it was found that the facility had been fully tiled with about 10 separate water closets, taps, hand-wash basins and other washroom equipment installed in them.
A section of the locked up toilet facility
According to a source, all the five facilities had the necessary equipment installed in them and were ready for use although some ground works such as tiling of the floor were to be done to fully complete the project.
The source claimed that in the course of the renovation, one of the completed facilities was opened to the pupils.
However, the source said following a “misuse of the facility by the pupils,” the overseers of the project had resolved to lock them up until they were “fully” completed and inaugurated.
A chain of pupils were observed defecating on a portion of the school’s land that had been earmarked for dumping refuse.
The area, filled with a very strong stench as a result of the unsanitary activities there, was about 50 meters away from a classroom block where some of the teachers observed the situation unconcerned.
The stinking place is also a few meters away from the school’s canteen, a situation that exposed the pupils to food poisoning, diarrhoea, among other food-borne ailments.
It was also observed the pupils having no handwashing facilities immediately joined their colleagues in class without washing their hands.
In a chat with some of them to find out why they defecate in the open, they claimed that their teachers had cautioned them against the use of the existing toilet facilities.
“My friends and I come here almost every day to urinate and defecate. We do not know why the toilet was locked and when it will be opened,” one of them who identified herself only as Esther stated.
Some teenagers who said they could not afford to defecate in the open claimed they accessed a nearby toilet facility at a cost of 60 pesewas.
“Some of us jump the school wall to use the beach because we cannot afford to pay. We sometimes miss classes but we do not have any option,” one of them who spoke on condition of anonymity stated.
When contacted, the Environmental Health Officer at the LeKMA and Coordinator of the GAMA Project, Mr Samuel Agblo, claimed that the assembly had already handed over one of the facilities to the school months ago while rehabilitation works on the other four were ongoing.
He said “some petty works” such as weeding, painting and the provision of a cesspit would be completed by next week after which the assembly would inaugurate and hand over to the school.
“It is not true that the pupils defecate in the open because we have already handed over one of the facilities to the school,“ he stated.
Meanwhile, the management of the school declined to comment on the matter.