Regional News of 2014-03-07

Ashanti: SHS tutor falls into dilapidated toilet

A 45-year-old teacher at Achinakrom Senior High School in the Ejisu Juabeng Municipality of the Ashanti Region had the worst experience of his life when he fell into a dilapidated maggot-infested toilet in his school.

The tutor whose name has been withheld fell into the pit when he excused himself to attend to natures call in the middle of invigilating a mock examination.

It took a student who was also visiting the toilet at the time, to raise the alarm after realizing something unusual in the lavatory. The school teachers, watchmen and latrine men, hurried to the rescue of the teacher who was rushed to the Ejisu Government Hospital where he was admitted and treated.

The lavatory, build in the 80s is near collapse, and has deep cracks all over posing danger to its users. Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene, who was at the school, reports that the lavatory which can only accommodate few people at a time serves both teachers and students of the whole school with a population of over nine hundred. It has just one entry door with the single female and male compartments close to each other.

Speaking to Ultimate Radio, some students bitterly complained that they feared for their lives whenever they visited the toilet and therefore found alternative means of attending to nature’s call which included doing it in the bush.

“The toilet is not safe at all. The walls are all broken and it can kill someone at any time. Even what we sit on is cracked so if you sit on it and you are not fortunate you will fall in” one student described.

“I fear for my life because if I go there and fall in it and no one finds me early, that is the end of my life” another student intimated.

The students expressed frustration about the stench that emanates from the toilet which disrupts teaching and learning. One student said “during the afternoon when the sun is very hot, the toilet evaporates which brings out a pungent smell and when we are studying, we cannot concentrate on the studies”.

A teacher at the school who spoke to Ultimate Radio on condition of anonymity narrated that the teacher might have wanted to catch or pick something of his when he slipped and pulled straight into the toilet headlong. He said the toilet had become a threat to both students and teachers who had no choice of an alternative facility.

“It is an old time KVIP which smells around and it is not even healthy for people to stay around it but our staff room is very close to it” he said.

When contacted, the Headmistress of the school, Mary Comwel Owusu, told Ultimate Radio, the structure deserved to be pulled down and rebuilt but the school had virtually no funds to do it.

She described the whole incident as bizarre and said she was only thankful the teacher did not lose his life to the tragic incident. “He went in with the head and it is only God who saved him. He went in headlong and he swallowed some of it (faeces) and the doctors had to extract it from him. It is also quite dehumanizing for a man with wife and children to go through this,” she recounted.

“I am even surprised he has returned to school and is teaching well because if it was me I wouldn’t have returned to the school”. She said the best she has been able to do for her students within her constrained resources as a new headmistress, was to engage a mason to construct some blocks to barricade the dangerous areas to prevent a re-occurrence.

The school also has limited boarding facilities, lacks a science lab, and has only five computers in their computer lab as well as limited accommodation for teachers. The limited boarding facilities compel two students to share a single students’ bed. Some students are also forced to rent accommodation outside the school, a situation authorities say affects academic work and output since the students are under no strict control or rules. Some teachers’ bungalow have completely been abandoned because they are no more habitable.