WASSCE candidates prep with torchlights amid Krobo power shutdown

Correspondence from the Eastern Region

Students of basic, senior high schools, and tertiary institutions in the Yilo and Lower Manya Krobo Municipalities of the Eastern Region are grappling with the current power outage in the area.

The power cut on Wednesday, 27th July 2022 by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) followed renewed agitations by its customers in the area over the rollout of prepaid meters to the area.

The fate of thousands of candidates who have begun preparations for their WASSCE and BECE papers hangs in the balance.

The 2022 WASSCE began at the various examination centres on Monday, 1st August 2022 with the Visual Arts practicals.

WAEC candidates of some of the senior high schools visited feared that the outage could adversely affect their preparations and performance in the ongoing exams.

GhanaWeb during its visit to some of the affected schools during the prep period observed that few students were resorting to the use of torchlights to study with the rest either in their dormitories or roaming around.

Nkrumah is a final-year student in one of the schools.

He said the situation was compelling them to learn for extra hours during the daytime to make up for the lost prep hours.

“Now that the lights are not in yet, we’re studying after class so that in the evenings like this while there’s no light we know that we’ve learnt a little bit more,” said the form three student.

Another candidate who gave her name as Martha said, “If the lights were on, we’d be in our class learning something, if you don’t understand something you may ask your friend to explain something to you at this time of the day but here it is you don’t have anything to do,” she lamented.

Another final year student who gave his name as Derrick said, “We are WASSCE candidates and we need to study more and revise on what we studied from form one till now and now while there’s no light, we can’t learn any more in the night.”

Regarding the use of torchlights to study he added; “Those who have torchlights will study, they’ll use their torchlights to learn small but the others if you don’t have torchlights then you go to sleep.

The candidates while expressing fears that the shutdown will adversely affect their performance in the exams appealed for the restoration of power to assist them.

A female student appealed: “I’m appealing to the government to turn on the lights, they should solve the issues very fast because we’re suffering in our learning.”

The assistant headmaster in charge of academics at one of the schools described the situation as a blow to the students.

He expressed regret that the students couldn’t make use of the prep hours to revise their notes.

“Light is used for studies and it means after we’re done with the day’s activities the students cannot do anything again by way of revision and this is making the work difficult for us,” he complained.

He furthered that the situation was equally affecting teaching and learning as certain topics couldn’t be taught without electricity.

The Assistant headmaster thus pleaded with the various stakeholders to find an amicable solution to the problem.

According to him, the school’s guidance and counselling unit was assisting the students on how to manage their time during the period.

A situational report on the impact of the current outage on some Senior High Schools in the Lower Manya Krobo municipality showed that the situation is very dire.

The educational directorate after visiting the Manya Krobo Senior High School witnessed very dark examination rooms where the students sat for their WASSCE as well as the students not being able to attend preps.

The school has also been forced to hire a generator to power a deep-freezer in the kitchen to preserve the fish and other perishable food items at a total cost of 900.00 cedis per day.

A similar situation was witnessed at the Akro Senior High Technical School where candidates couldn’t complete their WASSCE practicals because the equipment to be used for the practical work couldn’t be operated.

Though there are standby generators in the school, they couldn’t be started while the school has not been able to operate its power plant due to financial constraints and are therefore not being used.

Arrangements were hence being made to transport their deep-freezer in the kitchen to the Akuse Methodist SHTS for the preservation of the perishable food items.

The students also couldn’t tap water from the school’s mechanized borehole due to the situation.

At the Krobo Girls Senior High School, the school’s PTA is fuelling the power plant at a daily cost of Ghc 1500.00 to pump water and provide lights to enable the students to attend prep from 7.00 pm- 9.00 pm.

The District Director of Education, Mr. Samuel Kwesi Tettey said, “The electricity problem is having an adverse effect on our schools. The students don’t have light to study in the evening,” he stated adding that “Perishable food items affected increased expenditure on generator and fuel.”