The Foundation of Generational Thinkers (FOGET), a youth empowerment nongovernmental organisation (NGO), has decried the use of makeshift facilities, especially classrooms, by some private schools for the camping of Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates ahead of their examination.
It warned that if the practice, especially with schools without boarding facilities, was not checked and corrected, many of the makeshift facilities would be used as breeding grounds for the picking up of negative habits.
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“We have a situation whereby final-year junior high school (JHS) students preparing to sit the BECE are asked to attend extra classes which sometimes involve them temporarily spending the nights also on the campus where classrooms have been converted into makeshift dormitories.
“This is especially with some private schools which were not designed or built with boarding facilities. This can result in the lack of proper supervision by the teachers, thereby leaving room for the students to engage in sexual experiments and all its ramifications,” a statement signed by the President of FOGET, Mr Prosper Afetsi, said.
It said for instance that having visited over 50 schools in Accra, while conducting a survey, it came to light that some private schools had adopted a practice whereby they created emergency dormitories for their finalyear students about to write the BECE in the guise of keeping them together to learn for the examinations.
“To FOGET, this is not a step in the right direction; these academic facilities lack the wherewithal to be called ‘dormitories’ and, therefore, are not fit to accommodate these students for even a night. Of the over 50 schools we visited in Accra, we discovered that at least 35 of them are operating these illegal boarding houses with the connivance of parents some of whom are not aware of the reality.
“Most of these schools do not have even bathrooms, thereby forcing the students to use the urinals as bathhouses, an unhygienic practice apart from the fact that they are away from their parents who cannot vouch for the moral standing of all teachers an students,” the statement pointed out.
According to FOGET, since these schools want to adopt the practice of running boarding facilities, it is the responsibility of the private schools to design their schools and the buildings in such a way that there will be extra rooms purposely built to accommodate the final-year students for the examination or revision period.
Failure to do that, it said, would only lead the morally weak teachers and their gullible students to venture into ‘territories’ and issues they had no idea of.