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25.11.2004 Regional News

Apam Secondary School tutors on strike

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Apam (C/R), Nov. 25, GNA - Tutors of Apam Secondary School have embarked on a sit-down strike in protest against the refusal of their Headmistress, Mrs Esther Hamilton to hand-over administration of the school to a new Headmaster who had been transferred from Mando Secondary School.

According to the tutors, Mrs Hamilton was supposed to have retired from the Ghana Education Service (GES) with effect from October 1, 2004. Their spokesman told the Ghana News Agency at Apam that the new Headmaster had been at the school on a number of occasions but Mrs Hamilton supported by Nana Edu Effirim, the chief of Apam and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the School refused to hand-over.

The spokesman blamed the deplorable conditions in the school to Nana Effirim, who is also the school's contractor for doing nothing to seek the welfare of both the students and the tutors even though he was always present at the school.

"Unless the chief has been removed as the Chairman of the Board nothing good will take place in the school," the spokesman said. The spokesman said things have deteriorated to the extent that some of the students admitted for the 2004-2005 academic year had to buy their own beds and desks.

He said there were no drugs at the school's sickbay, not even a tablet of paraceutamol to be given to a sick student who reported sick. "There are no mattresses on the beds at the sick bay and those who needed to be detained there for observation have to sleep on the bare springs of the metal beds."

The spokesman appealed to parents not to misconstrue their action as sabotage of the academic work of their wards.

Rather, he said, they had embarked on this action to safeguard the interest of the students who needed a congenial atmosphere to pursue their studies.

According to the spokesman, questions set by the tutors for printing for the end-of-term examinations had been returned to them with an instruction from the Headmistress that there was no money for conducting the examinations even though the students had been billed 12,000 cedis per term as examination fees.

He said reports of the end-of-year promotional examinations conducted at the end of 2003/2004 academic year, were still not posted to the parents because there was no money to buy stamps even though the students have paid for the item.

According to him, for two and a half years there had been no staff meeting to deliberate on any issue concerning the progress of the school.

"The School's Parent-Teacher-Association (PTA) and even the Board of Governors have ceased to function, leaving the entire management of the school in the hands of the Headmistress and Nana Effirim who was always at the Headmistress' office," the spokesman said.

Attempts to get Mrs Hamilton and Nana Effirim to comment on the strike action failed as they were out of the school.

When contacted, Mrs Emma Baaba Quarcoo and Ms Joyce Aidoo, Gomoa District Director of Education and the District Chief Executive respectively confirmed the story and said they were working hard to resolve it. 25 Nov. 04

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