Wednesday, January 4, 2012

St John's Grammar in crisis

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa
St John’s Grammar in crisis
As rain causes havoc
The heavy downpour that hit the Greater Accra Region last week has caused damage to property worth thousands of cedis at the St John’s Grammar School, Achimota.
The rain swept through the entire school, flooding dormitories, the bookshop, Staff Common Room, classrooms and also broke down part of the school wall.
This has compelled the school authorities to shut down the school for repair works to be undertaken.
The worse affected areas were the bookshop where most textbooks are kept. The assistant headmaster’s office was also not spared. All the computers and files containing vital data on students got damaged.
When the Junior Graphic visited the school last week, Form Four students numbering over 500 were being re-registered for the West African Senior School Certificate (WASSCE) since all the information required by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for their registration for the exam had been destroyed.
The Assistant Headmaster, Mr Ferguson Barnes, and some National Service personnel were seen taking photographs of the students and capturing other vital personal information.
The team was taken to the bookshop where almost all the textbooks, supplementary readers and other important books were soaked in water. In some of the classrooms which were not affected, a pile of files containing audited reports, information on students, video tapes of national and international programmes the school had participated in and receipt books had all been spread on the floor to dry.
The Senior Boys Prefect, Dolland Jisam-Kelly, and the Senior Girls Prefect, Nasiba Ibrahim, who conducted the Junior Graphic round, said around 1:30 am on Wednesday, one of the students in the girls dormitory who wanted to go to the washroom stepped into a pool of water and started screaming. This attracted the other students who woke up only to realise that it was raining heavily and water was entering the dormitories. “It was almost at our knee level and students were shouting and crying in despair. Some had their shoes, uniforms, books and other important things washed away”, they recalled.
In an interview, the Headmistress, Mrs Gloria Laryea, said the flood could be attributed to the blocking of the only drainage system due to the ongoing construction works on the main road which the contractor had abandoned for sometime.
She lamented that the school had never experienced such a disaster before. “My major concern is the books which have been damaged. It is going to be extremely difficult for the students to study as the textbooks are very crucial for their academic work.”
Mrs Laryea, who explained that currently the auditors were working around the clock to take stock of all the damaged items, appealed to the government, old students and philanthropists to come to the aid of the school.

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