Imagine visiting your child or wards in school only to find them sitting on a ladder, jerry-cans, popularly known as Kufuor gallons and other objects for lack of furniture.
That is what students of Mpasaaso Number Two Junior High School (JHS) in the Ashanti Region have had to endure over time.
The situation is impacting negatively not only on the health of the children but teaching and learning as well as.
From outside, I peeped through one of the windows of JHS 2 classroom where a teacher was busily taking pupils through Home Economics lessons. The topic was Food Commodities.
The pupils were busily contributing to lessons, but at a cost.
It was obvious there was little concentration from the pupil who were forced to sit in threes and fours on furniture meant for primary school pupils
They have been forced to improvise and make do with makeshift furniture in the absence of furniture approved by the Ghana Education Service.
Jerry cans, a wooden ladder, kitchen stools, cupboard and anything they find comfortable in their own judgment.
“We don’t have chairs so that we can sit on. We find it difficult whenever we are writing or the teacher is teaching. Three pupils are sitting on one chair. You can also see that some of the students are sitting on the cupboard so you will never feel comfortable whenever you are writing. You will never be able to learn well when you are in class,” a JHS 2 pupil summarized the challenges he and his colleagues have had to endure.
Only 28 desks meant for primary school pupils are in good condition and available for the entire school with a student population of over 150. This term alone, at least, two pupils have been injured after their colleagues played expensive pranks on them by pulling off their seats just as they moved to sit.
For the students who sit on the frame of a ladder, their laps serve as a table during classes.
Augustine Okyere Boateng is one of them.
“Some of us sitting on the ladder, we don’t feel comfortable so we need help. Even when I was writing, I don’t write properly.”
Teachers here face a daunting task of getting concentration of their pupils in class. It has become the norm for pupils to criss-cross from one end of the class to the other when classes are busily in session in search of available seat; a situation teachers described as disturbing.
“What they are sitting on over there, the ladder; they find it difficult when writing and if you are copying too because they have to put the note books on their laps. It makes teaching and learning very difficult,” a frustrated teacher lamented.
Teachers say they have stopped complaining to school authorities after several appeals to the head teacher to address the issue failed. Besides, parents who constitute a chunk of the local Parent Teacher Association have for several months now failed to turned up for meetings, a situation which has put the headmistress of the school in a fix.
School authorities will however not comment, for obvious reasons.
Officials at the Ahafo Ano South District Education Directorate acknowledge only primary schools pupils are allowed to use dual desks.
Public Relations Officer, Francis Osei Brenyah, says the district assembly is yet to provide mono desks for junior high schools in the area.
Pupils of Mpasaaso Number Two JHS will have to wait a little longer until the district assembly acts to give them relief.