Dr Michael Wombeogo, the Director of the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization says the inability of teachers to share and discuss challenges in schools for solutions affects academic activities.
He said measures instituted by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to gag teachers from sharing challenges they faced in schools, greatly affected quality of education, especially in rural communities.
He expressed concern about the lack of furniture in some basic schools in the Kassena-Nankana West District and across some schools in the country, yet school authorities who knew the negative effects of the situation on academic activities could not speak about it to get the needed support.
Dr Wombeogo was speaking at a ceremony to commission a newly constructed Early Childhood Development centre at Saboro, a community at Chiana, in the Kassena-Nankana West District, with funding support from Children Believe.
He said “It is sad to note that there are some schools that you will find children lying on their stomachs to write but teachers seem to hide this fact as if it is a crime to put it out in the public domain for the needed support.”
He noted that teachers who had direct contact with students and appreciated the challenges in many schools, would not talk about the challenges to draw attention and seek support for their pupils for fear of victimisation.
“You go to a school to find out why children are lying on the floor, and no one wants to talk about it. If you have headache and don’t say it, no one can help you to treat it,” he said.
Speaking on the need for child protection, the Director said it was an abomination to send children to buy alcoholic drinks and cigarettes, and cautioned that “Parents, don’t send your little children to buy alcohol or cigarette for you, it is an abomination, please let’s avoid that”.
He said children could easily be influenced to get involved in petty crime and appealed to stakeholders, especially parents and teachers to ensure that children were well protected against social vices that had the tendency to ruin their future.
The Director called on stakeholders including the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to ensure strict enforcement of child protection laws across the country.
Mr Edward Azure, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service, said “In fact it is true that in most of our schools, we lack furniture and other facilities. Even in many communities, we have children sitting under trees and learning. That is not the best.”
He said education was free, but needed to be supported by stakeholders to achieve quality, adding that government had provided furniture to schools over the years, but attributed the huge furniture deficit on poor maintenance attitude by schools and communities.
Mr Azure said apart from the lack of maintenance culture, there was the need for government to ensure that Contractors properly constructed furniture so that they would last to serve their purpose in schools.
Source: By Godfred A. Polkuu