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Ayirebi SHS, where students eat on the floor!

It was quite a long journey to the Akyemansa District in the Eastern Region. I have hardly taken a detour on the Accra-Kumasi road towards Asamankese, Adeiso and towns on that stretch. Going to Akim Oda en route to Ayirebi Senior High School for the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meeting of my ward was going to be such an experience for me, I thought. Indeed, it was an experience! But not what I expected.

I was disappointed especially when I got to Akim Oda. Is this the constituency the current Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, superintended over for over a decade? Infrastructure in the town is bad. Before I even got there, I was told a bridge in Asamankese is under construction and so the rerouting for us began the headache.

Disappointment will be an understatement as to what I felt when I got to Akim-Oda. Luckily for me, I was seated in front of the commercial vehicle so I had the luxury to ask the bus driver all the questions. I asked him how long it would take us to get to Ayirebi, my final destination. I told him I was going for a PTA meeting. The generous driver was candid and told me I would miss the meeting. He said there was half-an-hour more journey to cover  while Oda to Ayirebi will take me about two hours due to the nature of the roads. Honestly, I thought he wanted to make the travel sound unpleasant for me with such a “joke”!

Folks, when I got to what is the new station of Akim-Oda, I was so disappointed. The door to the vehicle I was to board to Ayirebi was faulty, to start with. And so many other unpleasantness! I knew I was in for a ride of my life after the Ayirebi-bound lorry driver complained about the metallic bridge leading out of Akim-Oda. He said authorities should do a better engineering work affixing the bridge over the Birim River.

Let me fast-forward and forget about the undulating road I travelled on Saturday, May 18, 2019. I got to Ayirebi Senior High School (AYISEC) to a closed PTA meeting. But as curious as I was, I went around the campus and interacted with some students and teachers.

I took the students’ words more seriously because they are on the ground.

It is quite normal a school will complain of infrastructure as a result of the strain on facilities by the roll-out of the Free SHS Policy. So yes, the students said they sleep in pairs in the dormitories and virtually live a survival-of-the-fittest lifestyle in school.

But what raised my hackles was the news that there is no dining hall for the school. Shocking, isn’t it? No dining hall!!!!

“So, how do you eat?” I sought an answer.

“We eat on the floor. You take your food from the kitchen and find a place to eat,” one student told me.

“What??? You must be kidding,” I replied.

I wanted confirmation from a teacher and the hesitation in his voice told me, what the girls told me is true.  Before I even got to the school – in my curiosity to know from departing parents what transpired at the PTA meeting – I was told each parent has been billed GH¢50 to help erect more facilities.

Inasmuch as it will be far-fetched, I think authorities must help get at least a dining hall for Ayisec – the Royals. It is unfortunate to leave young ladies and gentlemen eating on the floor. What are we exposing them to? No wonder my ward complains of epidemic every now and then in the school.

I was disappointed in the nature of the road network in the constituency given the top-notch work being done by the Member of Parliament, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who doubles as the Minister of Information, in Accra. The state of one of the two senior high schools in the Ofoase-Ayirebi Constituency does not paint a good picture at all about the fine gentleman. Man, you got to do something for the school! To be honest, I selected the school for my ward – in the dearth of schools under the freshly rolled out Free SHS policy in 2017 – because I knew there would be some modicum of attention given to the school because of the “youthfulness” to be brought to the constituency by Mr Oppong Nkrumah. But I have been disappointed, especially with what I saw last Saturday.

I hope the situation will change the next time I go there. The road network from Akim-Oda to Ayirebi should be given immediate attention. The selection of Ofoase as the district was also a wrong move, in my estimation, but I know it’s a decision taken on traditional lines.

If change has come for Akyemansa, it should reflect in the two senior high schools.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh

The writer is an editor for 3news.com.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are solely that of the writer and are not representative of the media firm he works for.

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