The Police have taken over security at the Bolgatanga Technical Institute (BOTECH) amid student unrest at the facility.
Riot broke out on Saturday at the school after fire reportedly erupted at a three-storey boys’ dormitory and a first-year student fell from the building in the ensuing stampede.
The students, who blamed the incident on the decaying condition of the building and staged a protest in demand for its immediate renovation, have been forcibly evacuated from the campus. This is the second time in less than two years that a student has crashed from a height at the school. Early in 2014, a student fell to his death from the same building during a mad dash that followed a midnight scream of fire outbreak. In the latest incident, another fire reportedly erupted at dormitory around midnight on Friday.
As students were rushing out of the building, a first-year student fell and had to be rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital. On Saturday, the angry students staged a protest in demand for immediate renovation of the boys’ dormitory which has not seen any renovation since the school was established in 1985. The decrepit structure is without a guiderail to prevent accidental fall. The cracks in the floors of some of the old structures at the school are wide and dangerous.
‘If anything happens and you are running and colleagues just push you, you would just fall off. That is why this guy just fell off and I heard that he passed away. The building needs renovation. That is why we are demonstrating and people don’t want to understand our action,’ one of the protesting students told Starr News’ Upper East regional correspondent, Edward Adeti .
Some of the students chanted, ‘We are fighting for our lives!’
The students went on hunger strike, rejecting their breakfast and lunch. According to the Principal of the school, Thomas Amare, the police had to come in to avoid a breakdown of law and order.
‘Morning and afternoon meals, they said they wouldn’t eat. How do you then keep people…on hunger strike? We called [the Bolgatanga Municipal] Director [of education]. Director came and spoke and they hooted at him. Director said if you won’t eat, we can’t contain you. So, the Director brought policemen. He told them [the students] to go. We don’t know what will happen. Students are students,’ the Principal told Starr News.
Amare said the decision as to when the school will reopen depends on the Ghana Education Service after studying the situational report he intends to forward on Monday.
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