Enrolment at Chirifo-Yilli JHS drops due to heavily cracked school building

An endangered classroom block is negatively affecting enrolment at the Chirifo-Yilli Junior High School in the Tolong District of the Northern Region. Pupils and teachers fear the block could collapse as a result of severe cracks developed by the structure over the years. Established in 1967, the Chirifo-Yilli Junior High School is among the oldest schools in the Northern Region. The then highly populated school used to serve the entire region before the establishment of other schools in parts of the region. Enrollment has shuffled between 200 and 300 pupils in the last seven years but has dropped further with a current enrollment of 167 pupils. The first school block, constructed about five decades ago, developed severe cracks but teachers were compelled to use it until their relocation to a new block in 2005. But this new block has also developed structural defects, forcing the return of teaching to the old dilapidated structure. The school currently runs two stream classes as the school library and two classrooms have been abandoned. Teachers fear of havoc in the event of heavy wind or downpour. Assistant Headmaster Yakubu Abdul-Rahman says parents prefer their wards attend schools in other communities for fear of structural collapse. “Any heavy wind will pull down this structure, we have relocated back to the former death trap because it appears that is a bit stronger than the one constructed in 2005. This situation deters parents from enrolling their wards here, some enroll but never come back and when you ask they tell you they have enrolled their wards in other communities”. He added that the absence of a female teacher has also affected girls’ enrollment as parents feel uncomfortable leaving their wards in the care of male teachers. “Communities like this will need a female teacher who can be a role model to female students but we don’t have one here. Parents are sceptical about enrolling their female wards because of this situation.” Within the school compound is a stalled six-unit GETFUND project started in 2012. Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association Alhassan Abdul-Rahman is not enthused with the state of affairs. “The last time the contractor visited was two years ago. Cements that he stored at my residence during the construction has been picked by his friends leaving only 34 bags of cement. When we met with him during a meeting before his disappearance, he told us his contract is from Accra so we have nothing to say it.” Community leaders are hoping for an early intervention to help improve the dwindling enrollment in the school.

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By Zubaida Ismail|3news.com|Ghana ]]>