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12.02.2010 Education

Akropong School for the Blind faces myriad of challenges

By GNA
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Akropong School for the Blind faces myriad of challenges

February 12, 2010
Akropong (E/R), GNA - Akropong School for the Blind (ASB), which houses, feeds and educates some 350 visually impaired persons, is faced with a myriad of infrastructural, logistic, financial, and personnel challenges, an official of the school told journalists on Thursday.

Ms. Mahela Narh, Headmistress of the School, told journalists on a visit to the school that even though government provided funds for the school regularly, the funds usually delayed and it was also woefully inadequate.

She made the remark when Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL) and United Way Ghana (UWG), a non-governmental organisation, visited the school as part of their annual Day of Caring project.

About 50 employees of Newmont used the day to dig the foundation for the construction of a library complex for the school, did general cleaning and also feted the 350 pupils of the schools.

Ms. Narh noted that due to lack of funds the only nurse who was assigned to the school could not operate because at the time she was assigned the infirmary was not in good shape.

"As we speak now we have not had a nurse in the school for more than a year now," she said.

Ms Narh also noted that even though the success rate for the pupils in the Basic Education Certificate Examination had been 100 per cent, they were weak in Science and Mathematics because of the difficulty in teaching the students using brail forms of the symbols and codes that existed in those two subjects.

She said a brail teacher from Nigeria was ready to help but the school had not been able to secure his services due to lack of funds.

"Our request to the Ghana Education Service (GES) for funds to secure the services of that teacher has not yielded any positive results," Ms Narh said.

She took journalists round the dormitories of the school. The tour revealed that the boys' dormitory, which houses 217 boys, had big holes in the ceiling exposing them to the vagaries of the weather.

Ms Narh noted that rooms meant to house a maximum of 10 boys now housed at least 18 boys at a time and the housemothers had no choice than to sleep in their same rooms with the boys, where they also cooked.

The girls' dormitory, although in better shape, was also overcrowded due to lack of space to house all 113 girls.

Some of the housemothers, teachers and national service persons had had to partition one dormitory with plywood for use as accommodation.

"We simply do not have bungalows for our staff and so good teachers come and are willing to stay but because of having to perch with other teachers in dormitories where they do not have their privacy, they leave," Ms Narh said.

Ms. Narh noted that even though there was electricity supply to the school, there was no money to acquire bulbs, fans and other basic appliances.

In terms of feeding, journalists saw the pupils eating a ball of kenkey each with palm nut soup without fish or meat, except for a few stage one pupils, who had some fish in their soup.

Ms. Narh said the government allocated only GH¢1.20 per pupil per day and that was woefully inadequate to provide them with nutritious meals.

She said the school had one small brail printer (embosser), but it was in need of an industrial laser brail printer that would enable it to produce more brail text books and supplementary readings for the pupils.

"We also need talking calculators and software for our computers to enable the pupils use the computer labs effectively," Ms Narh said.

She said individuals and corporate organisations had made and continued to make donations to the school but the major challenges persisted.

Ms Narh, however, appealed to corporate organisations to come to the aid of the school by adopting some projects such as bungalows for teachers, expansion of dormitories, acquisition of industrial printer, rehabilitation of the infirmary, securing the services of maths and science brail teachers and the construction of the library complex.

GNA

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