14.04.2008 Education

Headmaster’s ‘office’ is under a tree

14.04.2008 LISTEN
By Daily Express

George Havor sits under a neem tree with his head buried in a notebook. He is looking through the books of his students with close attention. Mr. Havor, 53, is the headmaster of Gamenu Junior High School.

“I enjoy my job,' he told me with a smile, even though the chair on which he sat in his 'office' looked weak and wobble.

Gamenu is a small village in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region. The village is in a coma-like situation as one has to walk miles before one gets to meet another person on a long stretched red earth. The village is stashed way out of some of the major towns like Dabala, and I was told catching a vehicle to the village doesn't always come easy.

It was therefore little wonder when most of the teachers had not reported to work on the Wednesday after the Easter Break. They were being expected later that afternoon when the market women would be returning from Dabala.

Mr. Havor who says he has been teaching for the past 28 years said he was transferred from another school to Gamenu almost three years ago and the situation has not changed. The three classroom block that houses the JHS looks more like an abandoned structure fit for drug peddlers than for students.

The palm fronds used in roofing part of the building have dried up, giving up on the sun's persistent peering into the room. The JHS 2 classroom is in a sorrowful state. A heavy downpour I am told blew off the roof of the building, which used to be a middle school many years ago. The structure together with an equally dilapidated upper primary block and staff quarters was constructed by the community.

The JHS 2 students have been relocated into a classroom for the primary department, and that's no better- the chairs are also not enough with three students sharing a seat instead of two. Sadly, not everybody gets to have the opportunity of sitting on a chair.

Some of the students, according to Mr. Havor have to either bring their own chair from home or stand. The floor is un-cemented and looks a bit tacky. The headmaster said the total population of the JHS is seventy-six (76), adding that the state of the school “does not enhance proper learning.”

Mr. George Havor told the dailyEXPRESS that the situation has compelled authorities to close early or not allow the students to come to school on rainy days. He noted that many students who end up at home sometimes refuse to come back again and rather join their parents or friends to the farm.

“We are talking about the future of a whole generation that is being wasted.” A new 3-classroom block is being put up with the help of the European Union, and many of the townsfolk and the students are looking forward to its use.

Mr. Havor who receives visitors to the school under his neem tree office told the dailyEXPRESS he made a request to use one of the rooms in the new block as his office temporarily but that was turned down.

“I was told to wait till everything has been completed,” he said.

Author: Nii Kwaku Osabutey ANNY
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