The ceiling of a classroom at Pejeng Elementary School in Gianyar suddenly caved in yesterday morning while a group of 21 third grade students were busy preparing for a lesson. Thankfully, most of the children emerged unscathed having quickly taken shelter under their desks. But unfortunately one student — ten year old I Ketut Agus Arta Yasa — was too slow to duck and suffered a wound to the head from falling debris.
It’s unclear whether a teacher was inside directing the students at the time, but after the accident occurred, the children were able to crawl to safety under the tables and to the door. Ketut, the injured student, was immediately taken to a nearby health center for treatment.
The head of the Gianyar Education Agency, Made Suradnya, confirmed the incident to Kumparan. “It’s true there was an incident. The school was renovated in 2012, but we still don’t know why [the ceiling] broke,” he said.
But according to the mother of the injured child, Ni Nyoman Kerti, the school building had long been neglected.
“I was surprised that the ceiling that had long been seen to be weathered and prone to breaking down was left and now jeopardizes the safety of our children,” she said, as quoted by Kumparan.
The structure of two other classrooms at the school were also deemed unsafe due to wear and tear. A village leader, I Gede Purnadi Yoga, told the source that the other two rooms would be demolished in order to avoid further accidents.
“The condition of the weathered ceiling has been apparent for a long time. We have applied for renovation… But there has not been any realization of assistance until this disaster finally occurred,” he explained.
The school reopened today using the three classrooms that were still available and deemed safe. According to the source, teachers have also called on psychologists to help alleviate any trauma on the part of the affected students.
Meanwhile, the Gianyar Education Agency said that they would prioritize repairing the school’s damaged ceilings, and that all of the maintenance costs would be borne by the government.