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Life Is Unbearable - Schools Blame Communities

By Daily Graphic

A number of schools in some communities in various parts of the country find life unbearable due to activities of inhabitants of the communities.

The schools complained that some members of the communities in which they are situated, break into the classrooms to smoke wee, engage in sexual activities and sometimes steal school property.

In an interview with Mr Dominic Akorli, local GNAT Chairman (circuit 38) at the Fadama Cluster of Schools, for instance, he complained bitterly about how members of the community had been using the school's compound to play football and other sporting activities during classes and, thereby, disturbing the entire school because the compound was not fenced.

He complained that the activities of the footballers disrupted class activities as they reported as early as 5 am to play football and left around 8:20 am when school was in session “and they return in the afternoons at 3 pm when those in the afternoon session are in class,” he added.

According to him, sometimes the encroachers hide in their classrooms and engage in illicit activities leaving behind condoms which schoolchildren have to dispose of almost everyday.

'Encroachers of schools also make so much noise that sometimes while classes are going on, instead of the pupils concentrating they dance to music being played outside.”

“During sporting activities in the school, some community members invade the school compound and even go to the extent of sometimes fondling female students. And no one dares complain for fear of their lives.

Three pregnant female teachers on different occasions collapsed after being hit by balls during football matches played by the encroachers on the compound,' he added.

At the Apenkwa Cluster of Schools, the situation was not different. A source there disclosed that the roofing of almost all the classrooms leaked because of the activities of the footballers.

The source said drug peddlers sold and smoked wee on the compound sometimes in the presence of the students adding that, 'if you try to challenge them, they will harm you'.

It said, because the school was not fenced, people often broke into the classrooms and sometimes eased themselves there.

Meanwhile, the Director of Basic Education, Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Stephen Adu, has stated that the GES would soon require all new schools to be fenced.

This directive would be part of a broader 'School-Friendly Environmental Guidelines' the GES was developing to ensure security in schools as well as protect children and school lands.

'In urban areas and even some villages, people are taking over school lands. Some school compounds are also being used as football fields which we are aware of. People also go to schools when classes are still in session and pick up their children. If all schools are secured, all these things would be prevented,' he noted.

Mr Adu, who said these in an interview said, 'schools that do not have the resources to fence their buildings, especially those in the villages, can grow flowers or plants around them to serve the same purpose'.

He explained that though the guidelines would not affect old school structures already in the system, 'those who can afford can do so, but those who cannot, can plant hedges and also use wire mesh to secure the schools'.

He stated that the school-friendly environment guidelines were still under discussion and when all was ready, it would be adopted by public schools in the country.

Ms Victoria Akrong, Headmistress of Apenkwa Presby Primary said the introduction of the guidelines would help a lot because it meant intruders who broke into schools would have to be arrested and it would check the activities of hawkers, motor riders and passers-by who made so much noise while school was in session.