THE day and date was Tuesday, January 31, 2017 and the venue of this tragic incident was the Jamra Methodist Kindergarten (KG) School where the collapse of the school building killed instantly four innocent children. According to a report we carried on the front-page of our Wednesday, January 1st, 2017 edition, the four KG pupils were playing when the disaster struck as the weakened walls with visible cracks in the school building came down.
AS we commiserate with the bereaved families in their trying moments what we do not understand is why the school authorities did nothing even when parents and elders of the community drew their attention to the impending disaster. The conclusion we can draw from it is that this is a typical Ghanaian attitude where we wait until disaster befalls us before we act.
IT was also clear that the school building which was built by the community several years ago had not seen any renovation work(s), and coupled with the fact that the building had some structural defects. So the question then is: why would anybody go ahead and risk the lives of innocent children even in the light of an impending danger?
THE other issue is that did such complaints get to the district office of the Ghana Education Service in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa (AOB)? And if it is established that it came to the attention of the district education office what was done about it?
IN the opinion of Today this is an issue that must seriously be investigated and when established that people were negligent must be punished appropriately. It should not be one of the issues where school authorities will plead with the bereaved families and agree to foot the funeral bill and afterwards compensate them. Absolutely not!
WE must get to the bottom of this disaster. And we believe by doing that we will help save thousands of lives of school children who study in such death traps only waiting for disaster to strike.
MORE important, too, the Jamra catastrophe should be a wake-up call to the Ghana Education Service in particular to be proactive in routinely checking the conditions of schools in our communities. The advantage of having an effective monitoring system in place is that it helps compel people to always do the right things.
THE problem oftentimes is that such a system perhaps might be there but then those entrusted to do the checking tend to relax. This has been a major contributory factor to some of these preventable tragedies in our communities.
MEANWHILE Today is using this medium to urge the GES district offices across the country to immediately begin an audit of the state and conditions of all schools in our communities. In that sense we will identify death trap schools and help save lives of our school children.
THE charge must not only be to identify these precarious schools but essentially to ensure that school owners fix whatever structural defects they have in their schools. Additionally, it should not be an exercise for only GES, the district assemblies, traditional authorities and all of us must do our part to prevent such disasters.
IT is tragic that we have lost four precious young lives, dropped off at school by their parents with the hope of returning at the end of the day to pick them up. The tragedy will for a long time live with those parents and we feel their pain. The community and the nation have lost precious souls for who knows what these children would have lived to become in some twenty or more years time. While we mourn with the bereaved families, we also pray for peaceful rest for their souls.
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