By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
The dearth of learning spaces and other facilities in Government Secondary School, GSS, Wokkos, Pankshin local government area of Plateau State is worsened further as a rainstorm on Saturday destroyed classrooms and staff offices in the school.
An alumnus of the school, Amos Bitrus said the school was operating in a Primary School in the community but later moved to its current site in 1996 with community donated infrastructure but there are still facility gaps in the school.
Although the office of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs added two classrooms and a staff office about four years ago to address the infrastructure deficit, the intervention is not enough to address the existing problems.
To compound their woes, the roofs of two self-help Community buildings which were made with locally produced mud blocks, provided by the Parents Teachers Association, PTA, were blown off when the rainstorm struck.
A staff in the school, Mr. Yilduna Mantom said not less than 80 students were stranded on Monday when classes resumed even as students were squeezed in unaffected classrooms but the measure is unsustainable hence the call for urgent intervention by the government and other public-spirited persons and groups.
The disaster might affect students’ preparation for the final year examinations as well as breach the COVID-19 protocols.
The School’s Principal, Godwin Yilluk, said, “We have six buildings in the school, two are destroyed and the remaining four are being managed by both staff and students.
“We have 280 students, the situation is really difficult, I have written to the Area Office, the Area Director will take it up from there. I will go to the Education Secretary in the local government to let him know, we have WhatsApp platforms for Principals in the State and in the Area, I sent messages there too. We need urgent help.”
The State Commissioner for Secondary Education, Elizabeth Wapmuk when contacted at the time of this report on Monday afternoon expressed shock saying she knew nothing about the incident.
Wapmuk who acknowledged the infrastructure deficit in the school said, “Is that so? I am just hearing it for the first time, maybe because it happened on Saturday. Normally when something happens like that, the Principal is supposed to write to the Area Director, to the Zonal Director before it gets to our office in Jos.
“If he wrote today, it is yet to get to the Ministry, when it does, we will sit down to see what we can do. We don’t have the money kept so that immediately it happens, we will just rush, pick it up and go and start, you know government procedure, we don’t just rush to go and do it.
“There are other interventions the school supposed to do, they will know what to do. We have Area Directors, Zonal Directors, and the Principals; immediately something happens like this, they always come together, make a decision and when they come to the Ministry, we sit down and plan what to do. We ask them what is their recommendation, if there are other buildings there they move in, we don’t leave the students like that.
If there are other government schools nearby, we know what to do, once the issue comes to the Ministry, we will take a decision. That will not stop the students from writing their exams.”