The decision to convert Shia Senior High Technical School from a day school into boarding to meet the Free SHS demand has become a nightmare for students and teachers.
Shia is a commercial cocoa growing town on the Ghana-Togo border in the Volta Region.
With only one classroom block at their disposal of the school, lessons are held under trees.
Students are therefore forced to carry desks to and fro school, for lessons and other activities amidst intermittent snake scare from nearby bush.
The only structure in the school, which begun as a community day school in 1998, are the two junior high school blocks that existed from 1951.
A community day care centre, located about 60 metres from the school was taken over as the administrative and science block.Twelve years later, the school was upgraded and renamed as the Shia Senior High-Technical after it was absorbed under the Ghana Education Service system.
This happened in 2010 with pledges to expand infrastructure there, but not a single structure has been added to the two junior high school blocks.Matters got worse for the Shia Senior High-Technical when its enrolment, which had kept under 200 for obvious reasons, was increased to 400 following the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
Additionally, the school was converted into a boarding school with only the two JHS blocks it inherited still being the only infrastructure on campus.
With no option available, one of the two classroom structures was converted into a make-shift boys dormitory, whilst the girls have to trek one and half kilometres from a rented orphanage. Aside walking through a bush path to school daily, the two-year rent agreement expires at the end of this academic year.Under the current circumstance, academic activities are therefore held under trees and in the open, at the mercy of the weather and sometimes dangerous reptiles. According to some of the students, lessons are sometimes disrupted by falling snakes and other dangerous reptiles.
Students have to lift heavy desks to and fro, thrice or more times a day, for both academic and extra-curricular activities.The Shia community intervened by constructing pavilions but were not enough to meet the needs of the school. They have also provided a 25 acre land ready for relocation, but are yet to get positive response from government.
Although the community was included in the erstwhile Mahama-led administration’s e-block project, it could not materialize.
Currently the staff common room for teachers is under trees along the school park.The make-shift boys dormitory is highly congested. Students meander their way and had to lift six or more chop boxes to gain access to their books and other valuables.
The school kitchen is another spectacle.
Caterers always abandon cooking for the students whenever it rains.
The least said about the boys bathroom the better.
With the onset of the rains, academic activities would be depended on the pattern of rains. Clearly, the academic calendar of the school can’t be completed by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, students at Shia Senior High-Technical are expected to take the same examination with their counterparts in well-resourced schools in the cities.