New building for Otcherbleku basic school almost completed (Saturday, January 17, 2015) pg 29

Pupils and teachers of the Otcherbleku D/A Basic School are basking in joy of seeing the construction of a nine-classroom block to replace the existing one.

Inadequate classrooms at the school in the newly created Ningo-Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region had compelled authorities of the school to cram six classes into three classrooms.

But after Daily Graphic publications of January 25, 2014 and February 10, 2014, which drew attention to dire situation in the school where about 100 pupils are sharing three plywood-partitioned classrooms while another group of primary one pupils sweat under a shed, the GETFund has stepped in to construct new edifice for the school.

 Apart from the primary school, the fund is also constructing a junior high school (JHS) for the community to save pupils the trouble of walking about five kilometres to Apollonia, a nearby community for JHS education.

Project cost and facilities
 The project is being executed by Asumadu Construction Works Limited at a cost of GH¢ 280,941.21 for the JHS and GH¢ 380,659.21 for the primary school.

The contractor, Mr George Asumadu told the Daily Graphic that barring any unforeseen circumstance the project would be completed in March this year.

When the Daily Graphic visited the school last Wednesday, painters were busy working on the building. 

When completed, the school would have apart from the classrooms, a library, a computer laboratory, a staff common room and washrooms.

Project to keep pupils in school

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a visibly elated headmaster of the school, Mr John K. Kusi, said the new structure would improve standards of education in the area.

According him, although the school building was yet to be completed, the school was already experiencing increased enrolment.

He expressed appreciation to the GETFund for responding swiftly to the needs of the school and to the Daily Graphic for being the voice that carried the community’s cries to the authorities.

“We have written many letters but nothing came out of it,” he said.

He, however, made passionate appeal to other organisations to support the school with a teacher’s bungalow to attract more teachers to the school.

He said the JHS being constructed would also keep pupils in school since in the past, some of the schoolchildren going to JHS dropped out of school because of the long distance they had to walk to Appolonia.

But with the school beginning its own JHS this academic year, the headmaster said the situation would change as the children were now closer to school, and did not need to walk the long distance.

An excited pupil of the school, Ayisha Abdullai, said the new school would ensure that the distractions in their current classrooms where they had to deal with listening to two teachers at the same time would stop.

“When the teachers are teaching, this class is learning one thing, and the other one will also be learning another thing we sit in the middle and  we get confuse,” she said of the present arrangement.
What is the situation now?

Currently, the nursery, kindergarten and primary two pupils share one classroom. Though they are separated by plywood, access to the nursery is through the primary two classrooms.

The school started in 1987, in a pavilion which was later demarcated into three classrooms in the hope that extra classrooms would be built as the school’s population increased.

Until four years ago, the school was operating a multi-grade system, the Assistant Headmaster of the school, Mr Augustine Senyo, told the Daily Graphic.

He said two grades of pupils shared a classroom, explaining that classes two and three for instance shared a class, while sometimes one teacher taught classes four, five and six.

He said when the school moves to the new building, the existing one would become its pre-school.
The headmaster’s office is a narrow space which is further crowded by his desk, chair and the school’s sports equipment.     

The various classrooms have no lockers or cupboards for books, so all the school books are put in a small storeroom.

Domestic animals and herds of cattle often stray into the school compound, leaving behind trails of animal droppings because the school is unfenced.

However, the new school block, particularly the primary school has been fenced to ward off domestic animals disrupting classes and even leaving their droppings.

Water problems

The only stream that serves the community of about 500 people is located about 300 metres from the school.

The brackish water shared with the cattle that roam the area is what the pupils trek to fetch for use in the school and their homes.

Donation to pupils

Last year, Mr Senyo had appealed for books, school uniforms and footwear for the children; some of whom walk barefoot to school.

He said a group of friends led by one Alfred donated school uniforms, books and footwear to the pupils which had helped in enhancing teaching and learning in the school.

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