By Bernice Bessey
The Foundation of Generational Thinkers (FOGET), a youth empowerment non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to stop schools with poor facilities from housing final year Junior High School (JSS) students.
Of this inhumane practice, where students are compelled to sleep in open classrooms other than dormitories, in preparation towards the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), it is only the private schools that can even boast of proper sanitation systems.
Investigations conducted by FOGET indicate that most of these schools have poor infrasturcture facilities to even be allowed to operate schools, much more to in-house children as part of their preparations towards the BECE.
It unfortunate that the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ghana Education Service (GES), on a yearly basis, don’t publish publicly the dos & don’ts of schools in preparing their students for the BECE.
The private schools, which are no doubt in a stiff competition, would endeavour to use all means to have their students pass the exams with flying colours to make a name for themselves (schools), tend to subject these children to mosquito bites and other infections.
Often, the GES is able to quote the number of girls who became pregnant before and during the BECE, yet those whose pregnancies are a result of the schools’ negligence after the BECE are unknown.
Out of over 50 schools invited by the FOGET President, Prosper Afetsi, and his team in communities such as Darkuman, Dansoman, Sakaman and Odorkor, all in the Accra Metropolis, 35 were found to be culprits of this act.
Poorly as it may be, the students are compelled by the situation to use urinals, which are not up to standard, as bathrooms.
Definitely, these schools can serve as breeding grounds for future teenage and underage mothers, because the monitoring of student-to-student and teacher-to-student sexual behaviours maybe very low.
Nevertheless, FOGET is concerned with how proprietors and headteachers, in their bid to project the image of their schools, have created quasi emergency boarding houses for students in such poor conditions.
“We have a situation, whereby, junior secondary school students preparing to sit the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are asked to attend extra classes, which, sometimes, involves them temporarily spending the nights on the same campus, where classrooms have been converted into emergency dormitories.
“To FOGET, this is not a step in the right direction; these academic facilities lack the wherewithal to be called dormitories, and, therefore, are not fit to accommodate these students for even a night,” Mr Afetsi lamented.
To FOGET, the MoE Ghana Education Service, GES and the Association of Private Schools should come out with a strong policy on the issue.
Again, there must be a policy on how schools should be designed to make room for housing final year students during their preparations for the examinations/revision period.