Students at the Bakalu SchoolStudents of Dorothy Cooper School in Gbarnga have been attending classes under a leaky roof since the beginning of the year, and there is no help yet in sight for them.Students of the Dorothy Cooper Elementary and Junior High School, a government run institution in Gbarnga, Bong County, are attending classes under unbearable conditions key amongst which is a leaky roof.The government school which was built more than four decades ago has had no records of any repair work since violent storm damaged the roof early this year.The teachers are finding it extremely difficult to teach, especially during this wet season.“The school has a very huge enrollment of over 1,500 students and for them to learn under such circumstances is not healthy for our modern society,” one of the teachers told the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity.The school’s roof has been damaged for many months now, and no one from the county leadership or the Ministry of Education (MoE) has bothered to repair it, the teachers added.The teachers further said that the situation has put the students’ safety at risk, “and so the building must be repaired to protect it from eventual collapse.”Students are constrained to attend classes under the leaky roof because there is no money to repair the school.Meanwhile, some of the students, who have no option but to sit under the leaking roofs are reportedly developing flu.“Authorities at the MoE are yet to take the necessary measures to arrest the situation or to clear the accumulated water atop the school,” some disenchanted students told the Daily Observer.A teacher in the school who described the situation as worrisome, said it could hinder quality learning since the MoE has up to date shown no concern.Ironically, MoE authorities had earlier spoken of the need to fence the school, provide furniture, computers, textbooks, library, toilet facility and supply potable water.In a related development, the John Flomo Bakalu Elementary and Junior High School in Gbarnga was also damaged by recent violent storm that took away the entire roof.According to the Principal, David Bokay, the county Electoral District #3 Representative, Josiah Marvin Cole provided 25 bundles of roofing zinc plus L$50,000, “but that is not enough to repair the school.”“When former Representative George Mulbah renovated that building in 2015, as the result of similar situation, he made available 55 bundles of zinc to renovate the entire building, but 25 bundles was not sufficient to complete the roofing,” Mr. Bokay said.At the same time, parents and students have called on the county leadership as well as the MoE to arrest the situation before the peak of the rainy season.Education authorities who were reached by this newspaper in the county expressed regret about the situation, but said plans are under way to renovate the schools. They did not say when the repair work will commence.In March of this year, violent storms damaged several buildings in Gbarnga, including residences and school buildings, among them the Dorothy Cooper and the John Flomo Bakalu Junior High Schools being the worst hit.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
WASHINGTON – The Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March, triggering an instant veto threat from the White House in a deepening dispute between Congress and the commander in chief. Republican attempts to scuttle the nonbinding timeline failed, 50-48, largely along party lines. The vote marked the Senate’s most forceful challenge to date of the administration’s handling of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops. It came days after the House approved a binding withdrawal deadline of Sept. 1, 2008. After weeks of setbacks on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the moment was at hand to “send a message to President Bush that the time has come to find a new way forward in this intractable war.” But Republicans – and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent Democrat – argued otherwise. John McCain, R-Ariz., a presidential hopeful, said, “we are starting to turn things around” in the Iraq War, and added that a timeline for withdrawal would encourage terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. Bush had previously said he would veto any bill that he deemed an attempt to micromanage the war, and the White House freshened the threat a few hours before the vote – and again afterward. “The president is disappointed that the Senate continues down a path with a bill that he will veto and has no chance of becoming law,” it said. Similar legislation drew only 48 votes in the Senate earlier this month, but Democratic leaders made a change that persuaded Nebraska’s Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson to swing behind the measure. Additionally, Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon, vocal critics of the war, sided with the Democrats, assuring them of the majority they needed to turn back a challenge led by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. The debate came on legislation that provides $122 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as domestic priorities such relief to hurricane victims and payments to farmers. Final passage is expected Wednesday or Thursday. Separately, supporters of an increase in the minimum wage readied an effort to attach the measure to the spending bill, along with companion tax cuts that Republicans have demanded. The House and Senate have passed different versions of the bill but have yet to reach a compromise. The House has already passed legislation requiring troops to be withdrawn by Sept. 1, 2008. The Senate vote assured that the Democratic-controlled Congress would send Bush legislation later this spring that calls for a change in war policy. A veto is a certainty, presuming the president follows through. That would put the onus back on the Democrats, who would have to decide how long they wanted to extend the test of wills in the face of what are likely to be increasingly urgent statements from the administration that the money is needed for troops in the war zone. “I hope he will work with us so we can come up with something agreeable for both” sides, Reid said at a post-vote news conference. “But I’m not anxious to strip anything out of the bill.” As drafted, the legislation called for troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days, with a nonbinding goal that calls for the combat troops to be gone within a year. The measure also includes a series of suggested goals for the Iraqi government to meet to provide for its own security, enhance democracy and distribute its oil wealth fairly – provisions designed to attract support from Nelson and Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Despite the change, Pryor voted to delete the timeline. The vote was a critical test for Reid and the new Democratic majority in the Senate nearly three months after they took power. Despite several attempts, they had yet to win approval for any legislation challenging Bush’s policies. Republicans prevented debate over the winter on nonbinding measures critical of Bush’s decision to deploy an additional 21,500 troops. That led to the 50-48 vote derailing a bill that called for a troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days but set only a non-binding target of March 31, 2008, for the departure of the final combat forces. Some Democrats said they would support the nonbinding timetable even though they wanted more. “I want a deadline not only for commencing the withdrawal of our forces but also completing it rather than a target date,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “This provision represents a 90-degree change of course from the president’s policy of escalation in the middle of a civil war,” he said, “I’m confident once the withdrawal of our troops begins, there will be no turning back.” Lieberman, who won a new term last fall in a three-way race after losing the Democratic nomination to an anti-war insurgent, depicted the vote as a turning point. He said the effect of the timeline would be to “snatch defeat from the jaws of progress in Iraq.” Republicans spoke in similar terms. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!