Ningo SHS Students Forced To Study On Bare Floor [photos]
…Over Excessive Admission, Inadequate Desks; Headmistress Blamed
Excessive admission of first-year students at the Ningo Senior High Technical School (SHTS) in the Greater Accra Region has left students struggling to cope in the classrooms, as some, through no fault of theirs, have had to improvise by learning on the bare floor.
The situation affects mainly the first-year students because of the huge number of freshers admitted by the management of the school, something, thereby, stretching furniture and other facilities there.
In the past, the school admitted some 453, but this year, The Anchor is informed that, the headmistress, Madam Richel Coffie, who was transferred to the school only last year, admitted close to 700 first-year students, thus leading to the current challenges.
Some disturbing photographs in the possession of The Anchor show students sitting on the bare floor, with their study materials on their lap during class hours, while teaching was going on.
Some others, who are lucky to have access to the few desks available, share them with no fewer than two classmates. The rest are also made to stand, while some sit on top of the already occupied desks to follow lessons.
The not-so-pleasant situation has led to the school converting the dining hall into classrooms for two classes.
In the recent past, this had been the case in most schools due to the government flagship free Senior High School programme, until some deliberate measures were put in place to curtail the situation after sometime.
However, it appears the Ningo SHTS is yet to benefit from this measure, therefore leaving students to struggle over the few desks.
The situation is being blamed on the headmistress of the school, who this paper gathered hardly listens to good counsel.
A concerned informant told this paper, “I will blame the situation on the management of the school. They had a new headmistress about a year and half ago and despite the challenges that there is no furniture, the last admission that she did, she admitted more than the number.
“As we speak, there are two classes that have their lessons in the dining hall, which is also not conducive.
He went on, “The place is not something that can even be described as a dining hall because they don’t even have tables and the benches for them to sit on, but now that is where two classes are having their lessons.”
The informant added, “The other classrooms you go students are hanging around they are sitting two and three like they are pairing sort of. The Form Ones, they are new in the system they will not play truancy so they come and they sit on the floor.”
According to our source, the headmistress controls everything and whatever she says is what holds and that she has allegedly sidelined all her assistants.
“It’s like she is the final say. She is someone that, excuse me to say, is close to God. Whatever she says, nobody challenges her. Currently, she has sidelined her assistants – assistant headmaster academic, assistant headmaster administration.”
It was gathered that, at staff meetings, Madam Coffie is allegedly in-charge of everything and not much is heard from other staff members because she will not allow them to speak or ask questions.
“At these staff meetings, there is no occasion that you go there and an issue would have been raised for people to bring their views on the way forward, no it is not done like that. You go sit down for three hours, four hours and all what you do is that she will do all the talking from the beginning to the end and after that you get up and go.
“If you have the opportunity to talk too, she can ask you to shut up and sit down. She has done it to a lot of people. Even asking for information she will ask you to sit down,” our source said.
Aside from furniture, The Anchor was told that the Ningo SHTS, until recently, had no vehicle to its name, not even the known science resource bus.
But when GETFund Secretariat donated a Pickup vehicle to the school this year, Madam Coffie allegedly ‘seized’ it for her personal use.
“The Pickup became the bona-fide property of the woman where she was driving her herself until she got a guy to be driving her, but along the line, she sacked him because she said the driver was not respecting, so she has been driving herself.”
“She never released the Pickup for the use of the school.
“When even the school needed a vehicle to collect the recent West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) papers from Sege, to the school, she refused to release the Pickup and rather asked that they find some other means.
“The school ended up hiring a taxi before the examination was conducted.”
Narrating further our source said, “During the WASSCE because the depot was at Sege, they had to drive from here to Sege to pick the papers but the assistant headmaster academic said they did not have the funds to do that.
He said, “So what they did was to pick a teacher’s car, but along the way, the teacher’s car broke down and so they had to charter one of those taxis from town and made arrangement with Prampram Senior High School.”
“And so, the taxi will pick them and the police man from Ningo to Tsopoli and go and join the Prampram Senior High bus to go to Sege to collect the papers, and when they are retuning when they reach Tsopoli again they will alight and join the rented taxi back,” he added.
The source continued, “Then on a particular rainy day the taxis were not responding to their calls and so they went to the woman (headmistress) that she should give them the keys to the Pickup so that they could pick the papers and the woman refused to give them and told them that whatever means they will get they should, but for her, she was not going to give them.
“So it became a verbal exchange between her and the assistant headmaster administration [K.B Boateng]. So it wasn’t okay with the way the headmaster administration was pressing that the car be used for that purpose.”
The informant, whose name is being withheld, added, “So she gave out the key and then from that day, it became a problem between the two of them, and then after giving out the key, she said nobody should drive the car.
“She is claiming the school driver is not fit to drive, but it is the same driver who drives the district director to meetings and other stuff, so as at now, the car is grounded. She said until they get a driver, nobody will drive that car. She is very authoritative.”
Efforts to report her to the district or region levels have been unsuccessful because, according to sources, she has many relations there who defend her. She is allegedly the cousin of both the district and regional directors.
According to him, the school has no learning materials in their science laboratories and they are also challenged when it comes to basic social amenities, including water.
He said the school, which is both day and boarding, has had its boreholes, provided by the Member of Parliament (MP), Sam Nettey George, not functioning because the pumps broke down.
“Students have to trek to town to fetch water. One classroom has also been converted into a Sick Bay.
“The classrooms that are scarce she converted one into a Sick Bay. She claims that was what she spends money on and that the nurse has to be living on campus, but I can tell you on authority that the nurse is not living on campus, and even when students fall sick the struggle that we have to go through before we send them to the hospital.