Mr Prosper Afetsi, the President of Foundation of Generational Thinkers (FOGET), a youth empowerment Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has raised major concerns about the housing of final year Junior High School (JHS) students.
He said through that, some students were compelled to sleep in open classrooms under poor and inhumane conditions in preparation towards the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the weekend, Mr Afetsi said investigations conducted by FOGET revealed poor infrastructural facilities used as schools to house students in preparation for examinations were appalling.
He said it was unfortunate that the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) on yearly basis had not condemned or ban the practice that was exposing the students to health hazards.
The housing system is mostly practised by some private schools who partially convert their classrooms into dormitories to enable the students have classes and study together, mostly weeks before they begin their final examinations.
Apart from overstretching the students, the practice also places financial burdens on parents as they would be made to pay for extra tuition and feeding.
‘The private schools who are in stiffer competitions would no doubt endeavour to use all means to have their students passed the exams with ‘flying colours’ to make names for their schools
‘Often, the GES is able to quote the number of girls who became pregnant before and after the BECE, yet those whose pregnancy were as a result of the schools’ negligence after the BECE are unknown’, he said.
Mr Afetsi said, out of over 50 schools invited by the FOGET team in communities such as Darkuman, Dansoman, Sakaman and Odorkor all in Accra, 35 were found to be culprits of this act.
He said the students, under such circumstances were compelled to use sub-standards urinals as bathrooms.
The FOGET President said the schools served as breeding grounds for future teenage and underage mothers as the monitoring of student-to-student and teacher-to-student sexual behaviours were very low.
He said FOGET was much concerned with how proprietors and head teachers in their bid to project the image of their schools had created quasi emergency boarding houses for students in such poor conditions.
‘A situation, where JHS students preparing to sit for BECE are asked to attend extra classes, which sometimes involves temporarily spending the nights on the same campus, where classrooms have been converted into emergency dormitories.
‘To FOGET, this is not a step in the right direction; these academic facilities lack the wherewithal to be called dormitories and are therefore, not fit to accommodate students for even a night”, he said.
Mr Afetsi called on the MoE, the GES and the Association of Private Schools to come out with a strong policy on the issue.
He also appealed to the education authorities to put in a policy on how schools should be designed- to make room for housing final year students in preparations for their examinations.
By Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA