The authorities of two senior high schools (SHS) in Asamankese in the Eastern Region have appealed to the government to put pressure on contractors constructing classroom and dormitory blocks in their schools to expedite work so they can ease congestion in the schools.
The Assistant Headmaster (Domestic) of Asamankese SHS (ASASCO), Mr Daniel Akonnor, and the Assistant Headmaster (Academic) of Asamankese St Thomas Senior High/Technical School, Mr Isaac Kofi Oppong, made separate appeals when the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for West Akyem, Mr Seth Oduro-Boadu, visited the schools to acquaint himself with the development in the institutions.
The two assistant headmasters said the high intake of students due to the free SHS policy had put pressure on facilities in the two educational institutions.
Mr Akonnor said ASASCO requested for 1,500 students for the 2024/2025 academic year out of which the ministry had given it 1,100, all of whom had been admitted.
Mr Oppong, on the other hand, said 532 out of the 714 students placed in the school had reported, undergone orientation and started classes.
Mr Oppong said due to the huge intake of students as a result of the free SHS, 16 classrooms had been converted into dormitories to accommodate the students.
He said a new one-storey classroom block financed by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and which was expected to be completed in September 2024, was yet to be completed.
When the MCE questioned the foreman overseeing the project about the cause of the delay, he only gave an assurance that the project would be ready for occupation by the end of November 2024.
Mr Oppong also complained about inadequate furniture and an abandoned dining hall project, which he said had compelled the students to eat in batches in the current smaller facility.
The MCE said the assembly would help find a solution to the challenges.
The authorities of the two institutions complained about serious bedbug infestations in the dormitories adding that control had been ineffective for years.
He urged the MCE to help find a lasting solution to the situation.
The Assistant Headmaster of ASASCO led the MCE and his entourage to inspect an uncompleted one-storey 12-unit GETFund girls’ dormitory block started by the Kufuor administration in 2008.
He also led them to inspect a 12-unit GETFund emergency classroom block still at the footing level, which had been abandoned by the contractor for the past six weeks.
Mr Akonnor expressed concern that some parents failed to provide their children with their basic school needs such as trunks, chop boxes, panties, round necks, pens and exercise books before the free supplies from government were received.
A number of students interviewed by the Daily Graphic were full of praise for the government for implementing the free SHS policy to enable many children from poor homes to get access to SHS education.
They, however, appealed to the government to complete all ongoing infrastructural projects in time to enhance teaching and learning.
The MCE commended the staff of the two schools for their commitment to work.
He advised parents to complement government’s efforts to ensure the success of the free SHS policy by supplying some of the basic needs of their wards.