Imagine yourself with no upper body weight, having to lift heavy mahogany desks to and fro for about three times a day in the name academic activity.
Or imagine having to pack up and run home from school any time it rains. Would you be sitting in that beautiful, well-furnished air-conditioned mansion you call an office?
Or worse, imagine someone called your school a warehouse for storing cocoa.
Well, this is the plight of students of Shia Senior High and Technical School in the Volta Region.
Established some 25 years ago as a community day middle school, it was assimilated into the assisted secondary schools system in 2010, in what you may guess to have been a beautiful ceremony with heartwarming promises.
Driving past the school last month, however, the team was forced to believe that this was one of the warehouses for storing cocoa after all Volta Region produces a lot of Ghana’s cocoa so it is plausible.
We were taken aback to hear that this is actually a Senior High School attended by wards of very hardworking and taxpaying Ghanaians.
The headmaster of the school, Joy Akpebu tells Joy News that they now have to rely on donations from natives of the town to keep academic activity running.
He explains to us that the government hasn’t undertaken a single developmental project in the school since their assimilation in 2010.
“Since the school was approved, the government has not even awarded a cement block,” he said.
He adds that there is no facility in the school to aid administration or academic work.
“We don’t have anything in the school. No dormitories, no classrooms, no administration block, no assembly hall, no dining hall or kitchen, no computer or science labs”.
“We have nothing,” he echoed.
Well, the Akufo-Addo government in 2017 introduced their well-touted Free SHS policy and the placement authority posted boarding students to the school.
Authorities of the school explain to us that since the arrival of the 'boarders', the problems of the school have grown out of proportion.
There is no boarding facility in the school, therefore, students posted here were stranded.
The private residence of a native of Shia has since been converted into a dormitory for the female students.
Joy News learns that the owner of the facility, Felix Semavor, spent a whopping GH¢270,000 to complete the building for the students to move in free of charge.
The space is not enough for the over 120 first-year female students. The continuing students are currently residing in other facilities in town, a situation the headmaster finds troubling for academic work.
Mr Akpebu says they will need the same space or more to be in the position to house the numbers they are expecting in the next academic year.
“For now the male students are being housed in four of the old middle school classrooms,” he said.
The exposed nature of their residence makes these children prey to reptiles likes snakes and scorpions.
There are no functioning classrooms in the school.
Teaching and learning go on under trees and some pavilions put up by ‘Shia Citizens Association’ living in Accra.
The project, a 10-unit pavilion structure has about 5 units completed.
The ‘citizens’ have spent some GH¢15,000 on the project so far, the headmaster reveals.
“The school came to the traditional authorities and we helped them organize a communal labor to put the structures up,” Torgbui Amesukpi said.
The school also has an idle 25-acre land lying undeveloped. Mr. Akpebu says all his follow-ups to the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) have yielded no results.
“‘The committee is yet to meet to decide on the projects to be selected for this year’ is all they tell me”.
Some classes under trees and others under the pavilion structures
Classes under the pavilion
Some half completed pavilion structures
This structure serves as the assembly hall, dining hall, and staff common room. The students bring their desks here during meals and return them to their 'classes' every time.
This is the only brick classroom block. Some classes are held here.
This is the improved kitchen that the pantry staff are supposed to move into.
This is the bathhouse for the female students
The private residence of a native converted into girls' dormitory.
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