Reconsider structural designs of schools – civil engineer

The chairman of Civil Technical Division of Ghana Institution of Engineers, Joseph Oddei wants a second look at the current structural designs in constructing educational facilities at all levels. According to the civil engineer, security of students are being compromised for beauty and modernity, a situation he said if not reversed could lead to more tragedies in schools. Mr. Joseph Oddei’s suggestion follows the death of a final year student of the University of Ghana who allegedly fell from a fourth floor. She was a Consumer Science and Agric student, and fell from the balcony of the Akuafo Hall, Legon In an interview with Bright Kwesi Asempa on Onua FM morning show ‘Yen Nsem Pa’ Friday, the civil engineer at the Ghana Institution of Engineers Joseph Oddei contended that both school administrators and policy makers should consider the psychology of students as integral part of the decision that informs the type of architectural design to be used in constructing lecture theatres and hostels. He said it was not for nothing that early educational facilities were built with perforated wall balconies. “You see how the early buildings were done; it was just to prevent happenings such as the one that occurred recently. I think it is time we start having discussions as to the structural designs being used now. It is time we think beyond the engineering and beautiful architectural designs alone but factor in psychology of the students.” The chairman of Civil Technical Division of Ghana Institution of Engineers also cited an incident that took place at Adisadel College when a final-year Science student died after jumping from the fourth floor of the school’s new classroom block in attempt to avoid being punished. Mr. Joseph Oddei opined that if buildings are constructed with high banisters which are well secured, it will be difficult for students to even conceive the idea of committing suicide by jumping. “We should start rethinking of these new designs on our campuses. The buildings that we are putting up now are taller than what we used to have and it is likely these deaths will not end any time soon. Sometimes you visit the schools and you see the students either sitting or leaning dangerously on the banisters. It must concern all of us and our policy makers, and architects must rethink. We either do higher banisters or construct walls with perforated holes for ventilation.”

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