By Assan Bah
MrEbou B. Jarju, the Second Vice Principal of Kombo Kerewan Upper and Senior Secondary School in the West Coast Region (WCR), on Wednesday, November 8 confirmed to this medium that their students are asked to pay to maintain some of the school’s roof which were destroyed by windstorms earlier this year.
The said school, according to Jarju, was affected by a windstorm that occurred on the 13th of July of this year, which he said destroyed the roof of over seven classrooms and the school library respectively.
He said that because of the damage caused by the winds, they have reduced the number of students they enrolled this year because they have abandoned the seven classrooms on the last floor with the library moved to another class downstairs making it eight classrooms.
According to him, the school authorities have written to both the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education [MoBSE] and the Regional Education Directorate.
“When the incident happened, I wrote to the Ministry and attached some pictures and according to our former Principal, the letter was copied to the Regional Office. However, since then we have not heard anything from the authorities, the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Chairman, also visited the Director of the Regional Office to lodge the complaint to him. The Director told him that this was not the only school affected but he assured the PTA Chairman that his complaint was noted,” he said.
MrJarju further said, in a follow-up to the regional office by the PTA Chair, he [PTA Chair] informed the Director that since there is no response from the authorities they [parents] will task themselves to reinstall the roof, and said the Director told him that it is not a problem.
“We invited the parents and we reached an agreement that each student should pay D100 because our school has about one-thousand three-hundred students and if each child pays a hundred Dalasi, we will have around a hundred and thirty thousand Dalasi.
He said, according to the estimate, made by one contractor the total cost of the maintenance is around one hundred and eighty thousand Dalasi.
“If we have a hundred and thirty, we will start with it,” he explained.
Speaking to Foroyaa, the Regional Education Director WCR, Mr Lamin Fatajo confirmed being informed by the former principal and the PTA Chair of the student’s commitment to incur the damages. He said the PTA later agreed with the community members to pay for the maintenance.
“We have guidelines in terms of our projects that are if one ends the other starts; however, we have limited resources when it comes to the maintenance of schools as we pay more on salary and the like,” he said.
MrFatajo, however, said the school does not impose the payment on the students as it was the parents who came up with the decision, adding that the amount each parent will pay to repair the damage is in the interest of their children.
When asked for comment on the matter, one of the Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) said they have started repairing some of the schools that were affected but could not tell if the aforementioned schools were part of the schools that should be repaired.