Cape Coast, July 24, GNA – The Antem Metropolitan Assembly (M/A) Basic School in Cape Coast is gradually being turned into a garage as mechanics from the nearby Siwdo Kokompe fitting shops have extended their work to the school compound.
A visit to area by the GNA showed that noise from the cutting, hitting, screwing and sparking of vehicles work is affecting teaching and learning.
Furthermore, pieces of metals, car spare parts and scraps left behind after their work pose danger to school children especially during break time or physical education lessons when children play on the compound.
Faulty vehicles, abandoned on the compound for months, have become play houses for some pupils after school.
Four children, who were playing in an abandoned car at a mechanic shop at Okponglo in Accra, died in 2012.
A more life threatening aspect of their encroachment is that exhaust fumes from the vehicles pollute the air, putting the health of children and teachers at risk.
The Headmaster, Mr.Yaw Owusu Domfeh, recalled that one teacher sometime ago had an asthma attack due to the excessive fumes but for the timely intervention of the students who raised alarm for other teachers to come to the scene, she would have lost her life.
He said the activities of the mechanics were seriously affecting academic work because sometimes ‘you can hardly hear yourself, how much more the students. School environment must be conducive.’
Mr.Domfeh said the Ghana Education Service (GES), Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA), Unit Committee, Assembly Member of the Area and all those who mattered, had been informed but action was yet to be taken.
He said staff had confronted the mechanics on several occasions to no avail adding that old car tyres used as boundaries had been driven over and destroyed by the mechanics and other drivers.
‘Both teachers and school children are getting fed up with the situation’ he said and called on those concerned to expedite action to address the issue.
Mr Domfeh also complained about the perennial flooding of the school that had been worsened by the construction of new buildings and a new road at the Antem new site of which provision had not been made for gutters, thereby diverting the water path to the school.
Community refuse site located near the school is also gradually extending to the school compound as some residents sometimes dumped rubbish on the compound.
He said the Metropolitan Education Oversight Committee (MEOC) had discussed the encroachment by the mechanics several times and during one of such discussions, a member of the assembly was given the responsibility to ensure that the mechanics vacated the school compound.
Mr Domfeh said the Committee had not had a meeting for some time now and he was sure progress report on the issue would come up at an upcoming MCOEC meeting.
On the floods, he said about two years ago a delegation from the Directorate and the Assembly visited the school after which a contract for some construction works to mitigate the situation was awarded and the CCMA had also promised to relocate the refuse site.
Mr. Felix Ansah, the Assistant Director- Supervision of the Cape Coast Metropolitan Directorate of GES, said the directorate was aware of the challenges the school faced and that several meeting had been held with the CCMA.
The CCMA Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nicholas Addo, confirmed that contract had been given out for the construction of a road behind the school’s old structure which will have culvert and drains to redirect waterways away from the school.
He said the contractor had began work and was confident that the flood situation and the refuse dump situation would soon be an issue of the past and that the mechanics will also be ejected soon.
Antem M/A Basic School has produced some great personalities including Ms. Christine Churcher, a former Member of Parliament for Cape Coast and Minister for Girl Child Education during Former President John Agyekum Kuffour’s Administration.
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