From William N-lanjerborr Jalulah,Bolgatanga & Gowrie
THE UPPER East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Monday, closed down the Gowrie Senior High/Technical School, while 670 male students of the Bolgatanga Technical Institute (BOTECH) were also sent home by the institute.
The decision to close down the Gowrie Senior High/Technical School by the Education Directorate followed agitations by the students, in solidarity with 18 of their colleagues who were suspended indefinitely by the school authorities, for rioting.
Last Friday, students of the school went on a hunger strike, resulting in the food prepared for them going to waste.
The meals included banku, rice and beans, plain rice, and porridge.
Apart from their decision not to eat the food prepared for them, the students had also resolved not to attend classes until the 18 students who were suspended for their roles in the July 7 riot, were recalled.
According to the students, their decision to riot was a collective one, as such, the suspension of 18 of their colleagues, was unfair. Thus, they vowed to continue with their resolution, until their suspended colleagues were recalled.
Some of the students, who spoke with this paper on condition of anonymity, demanded the removal of their Headmistress, Madam Margret Akparibo, as an antidote to the numerous problems bedeviling the school.
They alleged that since they took the decision not to eat food prepared by the school, the Headmistress had not asked them why, and this, according to them, showed that she did not care about their welfare.
In solidarity with their children, some parents and guardians from Gowrie, on Monday, stormed the Regional Coordinating Council to impress on the Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, to intervene in saving their wards from being suspended.
Later, Mr. Mark Woyongo, the Acting Regional Director of Education, Mrs. Agnes Atagabe, the Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Clement Akrugu Tia, and other stakeholders held a crisis meeting, and concluded that the school be closed down.
Mrs. Atagabe, in the company of the Bongo DCE, the MP for Bongo, Mr. Albert Abongo, the Bongo District Director of Education, Mr. Francis Agyare, and other stakeholders, went to the school and announced the closure.
Their decision did not go down well with the students, who then took the law into their own hands, and destroyed some plastic chairs belonging to the school.
Immediately after Mrs. Atagabe announced the closure of the school, the students reacted violently by throwing stones, one of which hit Corporal Tonka Apam of the Bongo police.
At BOTECH, some 670 male students were sent home, after they boycotted classes in demand for the tiling of their bathhouse floor, and rehabilitation of their dormitory, which is in a deplorable state.
According to the students, their pleas to the school authorities to address their grievances had not materialised, thus their decision to also boycott classes until their demands were met.
Alhaji Omar Alhassan, Principal of BOTECH, said all efforts by the school administration to impress on the male students to return to the classrooms failed.
They then invited the Regional Director of Education to talk to them, but they still would not agree to go back to the classrooms.
It was immediately agreed, after the Principal, his staff and the Education Director had met, that the students be sent home for two weeks, to allow the school authorities source for money to tile the bathhouse floor before they are recalled.
Meanwhile, all the female and first year students are to remain and attend their normal classes.
The Gowrie Senior High/Technical Institute and Bolgatanga Technical Institute are the latest to add to the Builsa SH/Technical School, Kongo SHS, Zemse SH/Technical School, and Kongo SHS, which had experienced similar crises.