Neglect of Schools Up North
2006-08-08 20:24:28This article has been read 890 times.The Chronicle's visit to the Northern School of Business (NOBISCO) - one of the biggest business secondary schools in Tamale - has unearthed not only the numerous problems facing the school, but also successive governments' total neglect of the once-promising institution. It is regrettable that the school which was established about 35 years ago and has produced many high dignitaries for Ghana, including the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Tamale and the former Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Mohammed Amin-Anta, and the likes, now has its integrity and status in the mud.
NOBISCO, with a student population of a thousand four hundred and three (1,403), cannot boast of a single permanent structure erected by the government or the GETFund. About 80% of the classrooms, dormitories and other infrastructures are built of substandard wood, making the school a time bomb, ready to go off at the least provocation.
According to the paper's inquiries, the structures were all provided not by the government, but the Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) of the school.
Compounding this state of terrible congestion in the room was the fact that some of the students had to share a bed, sleeping two to a bed in the dormitory that was also very poorly ventilated.
The girls complained bitterly that quite apart from the little or no breathing space in the rooms, some students, particularly the 'freshers', were forced to sleep on the floors. They told the paper the congestion in the rooms had contributed to the spread if the infectious Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM), Tuberculosis (TB) and other airborne diseases.
The situation in the boys' dormitory was no different.
The President of the Students' Representative Council (SRC) and Senior Prefect of the school, Master Iddrisu Abdul-Aziz, in an interview disclosed with regret that, most of the male students sleep under trees whilst others, including him the Senior Prefect, have taken shelter in the only dining hall of the school, rendering NOBISCO without a proper dining hall.
Incidentally, the hall, which is also a wooden structure, has recently had its roof ripped off in a severe storm. According to the SRC president, students take their meals outside in the shade of trees and the majority of them stand on their feet to eat because there is not enough furniture.
Due to the lack of proper infrastructural development in the school, the authority of NOBISCO, the paper gathered, allowed students to boycott classes during heavy rainfalls.
The Chronicle discovered that only two teachers of the school, the senior housemistress and the senior housemaster, have accommodation on campus whilst the rest of the fifty-eight teachers, including the headmaster, live afar from the school.
This has accumulated a huge debt for the school as a result of payment of daily transportation for teachers.
NOBISCO has no library, science laboratory, toilet facility, computer laboratory or even bath house. The few classroom blocks are on their last legs and are looking very dilapidated.
The headmaster of NOBISCO, Sati-Na Salifu Seidu, in an interview with The Chronicle, confirmed all the reports and information gathered by the paper and expressed grave worry about the current state of the school.
He said that all the students and their teachers had been using a nearby bush as place of convenience for some years now. Most of the students, he noted, had taken undue advantage of the situation and frequented the town for private businesses under the false pretence.
Sati-Na Seidu disclosed that his administration had made several efforts through proposals and petitions to the GETFund board, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Northern Regional Coordinating Council and other corporate bodies, but all their efforts had proved unsuccessful.
He therefore called on the government to assist the school authorities reverse the situation to make NOBISCO more attractive to students for the promotion of quality education in the region.
The Senior Housemaster of NOBISCO and his Assistant, Messrs Mohammed Alidu and Mohammed Yussif respectively, said although the problems of the school were many there was still the need for stakeholders to fence in the school to ensure adequate protection of students.
They added that the current situation made it "too difficult for us to monitor the activities of the students".
In a related development, the Northern School of Business has inaugurated its Cadet Corps to provide internal security for the school. Snippets of information picked by the paper indicated that the situation at NOBISCO is not different from other senior secondary schools in the Northern Region, especially those outside the regional capital, Tamale.