ST Fidelis SHS in the Kwahu Afram Plains South lacks basic facilities to do any serious acadamic work. Its lack includes space to keep things like furniture. Thus student beds have been left to deteriorate.
During a visit to the school, the Daily Graphic saw that the double beds, which sources say were delivered by the Ministry of Education three years ago, were found on almost all the verandas of the classrooms, and at the mercy of the weather.
Apology of an SHS
The school, which is the only public senior high school (SHS) in the Afram Plains, is an apology of its status. It has structures which, when completed, could serve as teachers’ bungalows, classrooms and dormitories.
The science laboratory is a classroom with an improvised cupboard in it. The cupboard has been divided into three sections representing the laboratories of the three branches of sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with virtually nothing to show that it is a science laboratory.
During this year’s WASSCE Chemistry practicals, the school had to borrow basic laboratory equipment such as test tubes, tripods, chemicals and gas cylinders from other schools such as St Peters at Nkwatia and the Donkorkrom Agriculture Senior High School to enable the final year students to write their science practicals.
There is only one unserviceable computer monitor, with the keyboard and the hardware carefully packed in a corner on the bare floor of the classroom that serves as a computer laboratory.
The room does not have sockets but just three not-in-good condition tables.
A senior teacher in the school, Mr Bobie Appiah Danso, explained that there were “a few” computers, but because of the poor state of the laboratory, those computers were only sent to the laboratory during lessons. After the lessons, they are carried back to the office.
There is only one borehole in the school, which serves both the students and the community around. During our visit, some students were seen fetching water at the time they were supposed to be in the classroom.
Equally appalling are the dining hall and the kitchen. The food is prepared in an open space under a shed while the dining hall is located in front of the boys’ bath house, which is itself an open structure.
A room where a generator was installed by the Catholic Priest who founded the school, as a standby source of electricity for the school, is now a haven for rodents and cockroaches, while the generator itself has been taken over by cobwebs.
At the time of the visit, the headmaster of the school, Mr Mathias Attimah, who just took over as headmaster barely a week before, directed Mr Danso to brief the Daily Graphic on the state of the school.
He said a vehicle brought double beds to the school under the directive of the Ministry of Education.
He explained that the beds were left outside because the school had no place to keep them. The boys dormitory is even congested.
Mr Danso said though he was not in the school in 2000, he had read that the situation of the school deteriorated to the extent that it was closed down from 2000 to 2004.
About projects in the school, he said construction works on a one-storey building that has as a six-classroom block on the ground floor and a boys dormitory block on top started three years ago but work had stalled.
According to him, the contractor abandoned the work with the excuse that he had not been paid any money. The same contractor also worked on a two-unit teachers bungalow, finished the building, fixed the doors but refused to hand over the keys until he was paid.
Mr Danso explained that the contractor said he did not want to be affected by inflation and that was why he opted to complete the project but could not hand over the keys since that would have meant that he had been paid.
He said even though a lot of students were placed in the school under the school placement system, most of them often turned down the offer because of lack of dormitory facilities and that informed the decision by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to convert the hostel system, which was initially being operated, to a boarding system.
He added that though the school admitted students with as low as aggregate 40, “we have competent teachers who often turn them round to be quality students.”
Mr Danso was happy that the district assembly had promised to put up a dormitory block for the boys and was hopeful that it would help attract more students to the school.
Move by headmaster
Mr Attimah said though he just received the handover notes and was yet to study them, he had arranged for a library for the school, as a first step, and the facility started operating the previous week. A landscaping project to beautify the environment was also going on.
He is also soliciting support and donation from individuals and corporate bodies to enable the school to embark on various projects, including fencing, to prevent encroachment.
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