A view of the abandoned E-Block
A view of the abandoned E-Block
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Mem-Chemfre E-Block idling: Students desert school

The Mem-Chemfre Community Day Senior High School (E-Block) in the Kwahu Afram Plains North District in the Eastern Region has no student.

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The last batch of less than 20 students wrote the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2023. 

Those who were in Form Two and were expected to move to Form Three have all abandoned the school, leaving only one student, who had to be transferred to the Donkorkrom Agric Senior High School (SHS). 

Some of those who abandoned the school have either moved on, to other Senior High Schools (SHSs) outside the district or dropped out altogether.

The nearest community with a Junior High School (JHS) near the E-Block school is Kayera, which is about three kilometres away.

 Deplorable ceilings

Currently, some of those teachers, who were posted to the school when it was fully functioning are threatening to seek reposting to other schools, where their skills will be needed.

Generally, the roads in the district are in a deplorable state and the one leading to Mem-Chemfre is no exception.

The only means of transportation to the school is either by motorbike or a tricycle, and once a while, project vehicles by organisations such as the UNICEF ply the roads.

What is left

The usual running around and noise that characterise a school compound were absent during a visit by the Daily Graphic to the school premises, a clear indication of no academic activities as the doors were under lock and key.

There was dead silence at the school’s compound, except the chirping of birds on trees in the compound. 

Some of the doors to classrooms like the chemistry laboratory had been fortified with cross-wood to prevent possible break-in.

What is left of the school are the deteriorating structures with some ceiling visibly falling off, and the weather having its toll on the buildings and furniture, while reptiles and dust had taken over the classrooms.

The Chemistry laboratory door firmly secured

The school football park and the basketball pitch are all overgrown with weeds, while the iron poles used as a goalpost are all rusting away.

Meanwhile, the school has a well furnished science laboratory and furniture with a beautiful compound, which is becoming a pale shadow of itself.

Four huge polytanks holding water for use by the students behind the school block are left at the mercy of the weather, with some of the pipelines connected to the tanks removed, while some abandoned wood are left in a pile on the veranda. 

Briefing the Daily Graphic on the situation of the school, the District Director of Education, Solomon Akuruko Azubila, said his office had to plead with the teachers not to also abandon the school.

"We pleaded with the teachers to rather help the students at the junior high school in the nearby community, which lacks teachers while we make effort to get the students to choose the school.

"The students declined placements in the school, and as of now, no teaching and learning is taking place there," Mr Azubila told the Daily Graphic.

He said his office officially contacted the Free SHS Secretariat to assist the school by posting students there, but that no one had selected the school during the school selection.

Location

Mr Azubila blamed the predicament of the school on its location, which is sited far away from the beneficiary communities.

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He said because the school was located far away from the communities, there was no incentive for the students, because it was a day school.

The education director said additionally, the school was without water and the generator that used to power the school blew out anytime it was repaired.

Recommendations

Mr Azubila, therefore, appealed to the Free SHS Secretariat to place students into the school, adding that the school was equipped with all that was required in an SHS and that the teachers were on standby to teach.

He said as an immediate measure, he had embarked on community engagement with the people in the nearest community to secure accommodation facilities for students who would be willing to take up placement into the school.

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Solomon Akuruko Azubila —  District Education Director

He said currently, those rooms secured for the students were available, but no student was occupying them.

Additionally, Mr Azubila proposed that based on the location of the school, the government should consider attaching boarding facilities to it in order to make it attractive to students.

He said some people in the district were also suggesting that the school be converted into a College of Education such that the trainees could be used in some of the schools in the district for the practical work.

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"With that, the likelihood of some of them accepting to remain in the district and to teach would be high, " he added.

An Education Specialist with the UNICEF, which is piloting a number of educational interventions in the district, Dr Tillmann Guenthes, suggested that instead of allowing the structure to idle, it could be used for Complementary Basic Education (CBE) learners, one of the interventions being implemented in the district.

Dissatisfaction

A number of people in the district capital, Donkorkrom, expressed fury about the siting of the school, describing it as a political convenience.

They accused the then District Chief Executive (DCE) for superintending the location of the school in his community to enable him to benefit politically.

 Poly tanks abandoned

John Osei, a civil servant, said the then DCE was only interested in gaining political points because there was no reason for siting the school where it was except to please people from his community.

Jane Ajo Mawuena, a businesswoman and parent in Donkorkrom, said government must consider alternative ways to make the structure useful.

Director-General

When the Daily Graphic contacted the Director-General of the GES, Dr Eric Nkansah, he said the attention of his office had been drawn to it and that immediate steps were being taken to find a solution to it.

He believed that the location of the school was not attractive and that immediately, what needed to be done was to attach a boarding facility to the school, just as had been done to some of the E-blocks because of their locations.

He said since 2017, government had added boarding facilities to some of the E-blocks to make them accessible and attractive.

Dr Nkansah said the GES would also have to engage the various communities with JHS to encourage students in those schools to consider selecting the school, since there were boarding facilities.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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