Shortage of Furniture Hampers Grand Bassa School

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – When the Ministry of Education assigned Bridge International Academies to operate the Buchanan Demonstration School in 2016, the ministry also directed another public school using the facility to relocate.

However, the Sarah Simpson George School’s principal, Martha Potter, said the government did not provide a space for the school to relocate. The school, which runs from nursery to second grade and had already registered over 300 students, scrambled to find another facility.

The rent for the new location in the Saw Mill community is being paid for by the Parent Teacher Association and the facility comes with significant deficiencies. For example, the first and second-grade classrooms are roofed by tarpaulin and walled by mats. As a result, the classrooms suffer severely from leakages.

“During classes when rain’s falling, we put the students [on] one side and place bucket or tub to the area that is leaking so as to avoid them getting wet,” the principal said. “So we really need help, we have already registered these kids and they deserve to learn under good environment.”

She admitted that the situation was making it difficult for the school to operate normally, noting that the students needed to learn in a better atmosphere.

The structure housing the Sarah Simpson George School’s second grade class. Photo: Sampson David

In addition to the impact on the students, Potter said some school administrators lack offices and furniture. When they have guests, they often cater to those visitors among the students or in the hallway.

Potter said all classes lacked chairs and some students share stools that are meant for one person or bring rattan chairs purchased by parents who can afford it.

“These small [chairs] you’re seeing here were purchased by the parents themselves,” she said. “I have [an] office, but no chair and table. So, I sit among these kids any time I receive [a] guest like you’re seeing here.”

A resident of the Saw Mill community who preferred to remain anonymous said although the school lacks furniture, the government is still supplying the school with stationery.

“The stationery will not be used properly if the students are sitting on stools and classes are leaking without repair,” the community member said.

Potter has called on the government to intervene as the academic year continues to progress. When contacted, the county education officer of Grand Bassa, Nathaniel Cisco, confirmed the situation at the Sarah Simpson George School. He said other public schools in Grand Bassa were also facing similar issues.

Cisco said he only recently took over as county education officer. He has toured these schools and promises that he will soon submit his report to the Ministry of Education for redress.

Featured photo by Sampson David              

Sampson David

Sampson G. David is a journalist with over eight years of experience. He is a deputy manager at the Diahn-Blae Community Radio Station, a correspondent of the Liberia Broadcasting System, and a sophomore student at Starz College of Science and Technology, studying Management Information Systems.

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