Savelugu School for the Deaf grapple with challenges
2013-07-04 22:12:50This article has been read 831 times.The Savelugu School for the Deaf is one of the country’s special schools that provide education to hearing-impaired children.
Established in March, 1978, the school was initially set up as a unit under the Nyohini Rehabilitation Centre in Tamale but was subsequently moved to the Savelugu Middle Boarding School located at the outskirts of Savelugu.
Since then, the school has provided formal education to many hearing-impaired children, particularly from the three regions of the north.
During a visit to the school, the Daily Graphic observed that poor infrastructure and delays in the release of subvention among others continued to impact negatively on academic work and the general wellbeing of the children.
A lot of the facilities that were handed over to the school during its inception have remained the same, although the school’s population has increased from eight to 316.
These facilities, which used to belong to the then Savelugu Middle Boarding School, include classroom blocks, dining hall, staff bungalows and dormitories.
According to the Head of the School, Madam Gertrude Dasah, the dining hall was now too small to contain all the children and as a result, the school runs a shift system for dining.
“We let the little ones take their meals before the older ones,” she said, adding that most of the children stand to have their meals due to the lack of space in the dining hall to take more tables and chairs.
Madam Dasah also bemoaned the lack of teachers’ quarters and how it was having adverse effect on academic and extra curricula activities.
“Out of the 25 teachers, only four are staying in the school and so the remaining teachers have to trek from Tamale to Savelugu each school day. During the rainy season, a lot of them are not able to get to school and this affects lessons,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the accommodation problem facing the school are not limited to only the teachers but the pupils too.
“Although new dormitory blocks have been constructed, these facilities are still not adequate to provide space for all the pupils”, the Senior House Master, Mr Daniel Nsoah, indicated.
He said some of the dormitories, particularly the girls’ dormitory, was overcrowded. The school has 128 female pupils.
Delays in the release of subvention
Like other government schools, the Savelugu School for the Deaf is relying heavily on its suppliers to provide it with food items on credit basis.
This is due to the delays in the release of subvention to special schools by the government.
According to the headmistress, these suppliers were now fed up with that arrangement and had threatened to stop the supplies.
Madam Dasah, therefore, reiterated a recent plea by heads of special schools to the government to address the bottlenecks in the release of subvention to special schools.
Prepaid meter wahala
Just recently, the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) of the Volta River Authority (VRA) installed a prepaid meter in the school and this has posed a fresh challenge to the school.
“We do not have money to be buying power,” the headmistress lamented.
Plea for a fence
The Savelugu School for the Deaf is in dire need of a fence to protect the children from danger. The closeness of the school to the Tamale-Bolgatanga trunk road puts the lives of the hearing-impaired children at risk.
Traffic on this road has increased lately and although there is a speed table and a signpost warning drivers of the presence of hearing-impaired children in the area, most drivers fail to slow down on reaching that portion of the road.
The authorities are mostly vigilant to ensure that no child goes close to the road, but the headmistress admitted that it was not possible to keep an eye on all the children at all times.
“A fence would help us confine the children and protect them from any danger,” she said.
Madam Dasah also revealed that the absence of a fence had made it easy for some newly admitted children to escape from the school.
“Some of them run back home after their parents have brought them,” she said.
Counting on the PTA
The school authorities recently convened an emergency meeting with the executive members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to discuss challenges facing the school.
The Chairman of the PTA, Mr Ali Yakubu, told the Daily Graphic after the meeting that the PTA executive had decided to impose a monthly levy on every parent.
“Every parent should pay GH¢5 each month so that we can raise money to support the school to pay its bills,” he said, adding that the proposal was yet to be put before the entire PTA membership for approval.