From Kwesi Alfred Adams .
Pressure keeps mounting on the Mayor of the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), Anthony K.K. Sam, to re-open five school libraries, which through negligence had been put under lock and key following a staff rationalisation exercise embarked upon by the Assembly.
The Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), upon a petition fired to it, is putting pressure on the STMA Mayor to re-open libraries for students to access.
The said staff rationalisation exercise to downsize staff on its payroll led to over 90 persons being laid off.
The STMA defied advice and warnings from stakeholders to halt the exercise, considering the unemployment situation in the Metropolis.
Surprisingly, what the Assembly failed to realise was that among the over 90 staff sent home were librarians who it had expended money on training to man the various libraries in the Metropolis.
Currently, 13 librarians manning five Junior High Schools library in the metropolis are home because the libraries have been closed down.
The schools in question are Services School, New Takoradi Cluster of Schools, Kwesimintsim Methodist A &B School, Bedu Addo Cluster of Schools and the Wiawso Road School.
A petition was fired to the Western Regional Minister through the Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC). Upon the receipt, the office of the WRCC wrote and replied: “The office is in receipt of a petition from one Miss Akosua Boatema, a former Library Assistant at Kwesimintsim Methodist Cluster of Schools Library [that] had been closed down by the STMA. Others include the Wiawso Road Cluster of Schools library, the New Takoradi School library, the Services School library and the Bedu Adu Schools library. The closure had led to 13 of them losing their jobs as librarians.”
The letter, which was signed by Joseph K. Achim on behalf of the deputy Regional Minister and addressed to the Metro Education Director stated: “I am directed to enquire from you whether the closure of these libraries will not affect the studies of pupils using the facility. I forward a copy of the petition under reference and other reference, and other relevant correspondence on the subject matter to you for your necessary action, please.”
A week after responding to this reporter’s queries, the Public Relations Officer of the STMA, Mr. John Laste, confirmed the closure of the aforementioned libraries by the STMA as a result of the staff rationalisation exercise. However, he put up a strong defense that the libraries were rather three.
Out of the three, John Laste told this reporter two were not at post and only one librarian was found to be at post.
The STMA PRO said the STMA had received a petition over the issue, and has forwarded it to the Metro Education Director.
Interestingly, the Metro Education Director, Rev. Mrs. Elizabeth Akuaku, on her part, confirmed receiving a petition from the office of the Deputy Regional Minister and not the STMA.
She said the office was working on the petition and would not want to pass comments over the closure of the said libraries.
Rev. Mrs. Akuaku said until the petition, she was unaware the libraries had been closed. In the said petition, the petitioner recalled how the late Member of Parliament (MP), Mrs. Gladys Asmah, sponsored them to go on a month attachment course at the Sekondi Regional Library and trained as Assistant Librarians and placed on the payroll of the STMA.
The Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko, on is part, denied knowledge over the closure of the library, a situation a stakeholder has described as strange.
A septuagenarian stakeholder who did not want to be named told this reporter he personally informed the MP to intervene over the closure of the libraries, considering the fact that the libraries were in his constituency. But the MP seemed indifferent.