After several failed attempts to get their parents, chiefs, municipal assembly and municipal education directorate to provide them with classrooms, pupils and teachers of the Kechiebi-Asuagya L/A Basic school in the Oti Region have resorted to building their own classrooms.
The pupils who are between kindergarten (4 years) and primary 3 (8 to 12 years old) have been using their class hours to build makeshift sheds with thatch roofing since school reopened in January, 2021.
This is because the pupils and teachers were studying under sheds that had become death traps.
With the assistance of their five teachers and headteacher, they have been able to complete one out of the three classrooms they intended to put up.
The completed shed classroom which accommodates primary 1 and 2 was destroyed by a violent wind after a recent downpour.
The classroom shared by Kindergarten 1 and 2 which was also affected is next to be worked on. Followed by the Primary 3 classroom which is currently under a tree.
The Head Teacher, Benjamin Alhassan who was posted to the school in 2018 said, the community established the school about 10 years ago.
Prior to that, children had been walking for about 3km daily to Kechiebi for school.
Kente Akura another community that is currently benefiting from the Asuagya school had its children including four-year-olds (kindergarten pupils) doing about 7 km to Kechiebi as well.
The Asuogya school is timely and necessary as it serves Asuogya and Kente Akura which has a combined population of about 2000.
However, this important move had not been as successful as envisaged, Mr. Alhassan stressed.
He attributed the situation to lack of classrooms, furniture, teaching and learning material, and inability to remunerate the community teachers handling the students at the time.
That notwithstanding the school was absorbed by the GES in 2015 with the hope that state remunerated teachers could turn the fortunes of the school around. Yet, that was not to be as the burden was huge for the only teacher posted there at the time.
Fortunately, in 2018 when Mr. Alhassan was posted there; he had been able to revive the school after stakeholders meeting with the community and officials of the Municipal Education Directorate.
School resumed in a dilapidated and abandoned church building. At the time the standard was low and so students were combined into one class and segregated as they excelled.
Currently, the school has a student population of 117 covering Kindergarten 1 to Primary 3. This progress had led to the transfer of four new teachers in December 2020 (four months ago) to the school.
The headmaster says with the new teachers he is hopeful they will manage to build the two additional shed classrooms to keep teaching and learning going.
Apart from the lack of classrooms, the school has only 10 desks for the 117 pupils. The teachers and pupils have made improvised chairs but its not enough to cover all the pupils as many write on the floor.
Teaching and learning materials are not available as well.
“The School has nothing. It cannot boast of anything. No furniture, books and other learning materials,” Mr. Alhassan lamented.
The PTA Chairman of the School, Tumoge Ufotuba admits that the pupils learn under poor conditions, but the burden was huge for parents to carry alone.
He said, although he is mobilising the community to help build the two additional sheds, whenever it rained heavily, they fear for the lives of their children, as the shed could collapse.
The pupils, teachers, headteacher and PTA chairman have therefore made a passionate appeal to government, philanthropists, NGOs and faith-based organisations to come to their aid.