Pupils of the Saabisi Primary School, a public school at Natognia in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region, are learning in a deplorable condition.
There is no single dual desk in all the lower-primary classrooms. The walls and the floor of the classroom block being used by the lower-primary pupils have developed cracks. For lack of furniture, the schoolchildren lie on the bare rough surface of the floor to write.
When Word News visited the school recently, the classrooms were left opened because most of the doors and windows were broken down. The tables and the chairs in the upper primary section were insufficient for the pupils.
Moreover, the children in the kindergarten class are accommodated under a pavilion where lessons often come to a sudden end anytime the rain clouds begin to gather.
“The school’s classroom floor has been damaged beyond repair while the children lie on the bare floor to write. There are no doors and windows. Anytime I visit the school, I see the children lying on the bare floor which is the most painful thing. The teachers do not report early because of armed robbers. The teachers normally gather at a point for police escort to school to avoid being attacked by armed robbers on the way to school. This is somehow affecting academic activities in the school,” a parent and native, Desmond Agaapie Alutika, lamented.
Another native, Ayuobono Akolgo, added that the situation was unbearable because anytime it rained, water always found its way into the classrooms because the windows and the doors were broken down. He said the schoolchildren’s uniforms had to be washed every day because of the deplorable nature of the classroom coupled with the non-availability of furniture. He entreated the government to support the school with furniture to enable the children to learn better.
“I weep anytime I visit the school because the school is gradually collapsing. It is an eyesore. A storm ripped off the roof about eight years ago. We struggled before Honourable Mark Woyongo (a former Member of Parliament for Navrongo) came in and reroofed the school. Secondly, we do not have teachers quarters for the teachers to stay and teach our children. Look at the time; it’s 8:00 am and no teacher is in the school. All the teachers live in Navrongo. They will come late and close at noon due to the increasing number of robbery cases in the region.
“We do not have a toilet facility. There are no textbooks. We as parents contributed for the head-teacher to buy some of the textbooks to aid teaching and learning in the school. We used to have water challenges but one philanthropist from the community drilled a mechanised borehole for the school,” a member of the community, Armstrong Adigewine, said.
The Saabisi Primary School, which is also on the Ghana National School Feeding Programme (GNSFP) list, has been preparing food for the pupils in the open for two years. Speaking exclusively to Word News, a cook at the school, Paulina Adongo, said the food sometimes was prepared in the rain. She also said the school had resorted to open defecation for lack of toilet facility.
The interim Municipal Chief Executive for the Kassena-Nankana Municipality, Williams Aduum, told Word News that plans were far advanced to address the challenges that confronted the school. He promised to dispatch 20 metal-framed desks to the school and work on the floor of the classrooms this month. Meanwhile, the school’s head-teacher, Benjamin Agemina, declined to speak to Word News, saying the Municipal Director of Education had not given him the approval to speak to the media.