Northern Towns Lament Poor Quality of Education
2005-03-07 20:04:02This article has been read 841 times.Six communities in the Savelugu-Nanton District of the Northern Region, in their attempt to secure quality education for their future leaders, have demonstrated their dissatisfaction towards â€œthe governmentâ€™s meager commitmentâ€ to provide them with quality education.
According to the communities, the region and the districtâ€™s poor performance in the 2004 BECE was based on the fact that they lagged far behind in accessing good and adequate teachers, educational infrastructure as well as teaching and learning materials, to secure a better future for their children. The disgruntled communities include Savelugu, Limanfong, Nanton, Tampion, Pong-Tamale and Diare.
â€œAlthough the government claims to have provided enough funds for the procurement of textbooks, that is not the case in the District. All the schools are using outdated textbooks, as the syllabus was reviewed in 2001 and there has not been a replacement. Even the outdated ones are not enough to reach every student and textbooks are not available for all subjects.
In Diare JSS for instance, only five textbooks were available to the whole school, which include one each of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, they complained.
The grievances of the six communities came publicly after a three-month survey and capacity building embarked on by a Non-Governmental Organization called Rural Media Network (RUMNET) based in Tamale, to build the capacity of the rural poor to monitor and evaluate all services provided by government to enable them amplify their voices in policy making.
In a release issued from the office of RUMNET, copied to The Chronicle, most of the rural communities in the Northern Region were said to be seriously deprived in terms of educational infrastructure, good drinking water, electricity, good roads and other basic facilities to improve the standard of living in those areas.
The Communities, however, blamed the Savelugu-Nanton District Assembly and the Ghana Education Service (GES) for not doing much in providing adequate teachers, classrooms, textbooks and furniture and other materials to make teaching and learning much interesting for both the teacher and student.
The Executive Director of RUMNET, Mr. Abdullah Kassim, in the release, noted that, the evaluation exercise was to find out the extent to which governmentâ€™s response to the declining standard of education had been soundly implemented in the communities.
It was also to enable members identify the various sources of funding for education in their areas and its utilization and impact on the communities.
Voicing out the main problems hindering education in the area, the community members accused the educational authorities (GES and District Assembly) for not involving the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and the School Management Committees (SMC) in decision-making and also of denying the communities the needed information that would make them aware of their roles and responsibilities in ensuring quality future for their wards.
The release noted, â€œClassrooms are overcrowded and inconducive for teaching and learning.â€
In most of the schools, 70 students occupy a classroom measuring 12 by 14 feet (Radatu Afal JSS for example), which is certainly suffocating.
The Pong-Tamale JSS is housed in refurbished poultry house that was abandoned by the Veterinary Services Department some years back and at Nanton, the JSS is squatting in a pavilion owned by an NGO Programme-School for Life, and the students have to relocate under trees when School For Life has a session.â€
The RUMNET team uncovered that, the issue of furniture in most of the classrooms was nothing to write home about, insufficient and inappropriate. The release stated that, three students in every class shared a dual desk that by sizes was meant for primary school pupils.
Consequently, it said, students often complain of pains in the chests, necks, backs, waists and knees. At Diare JSS, only 33 dual desks were available for 155 students.
On the issue of inadequate teachers, the RUMNET gathered and stated that, none of the schools in the district had its full complement of teachers. At Radatu JSS in Savelugu, it disclosed, eight (8) teachers were responsible for 363 students and in most cases, each teacher handled 90 students, instead of 45.
The NGO, RUMNET, however appealed to the government to give same attention it had been giving the urban areas, to the rural communities, to ensure quality education and to also help bring out the abilities in the rural people.
It called also on parents to show keen interest in their childrenâ€™s education to motivate and complement the efforts of the few teachers they have in their communities.