Teachers in the Wa West District are still organizing classes under trees in 80 schools, comprising kindergarten, primary and junior high schools, despite government’s efforts to provide decent classroom blocks for schools in the area.
Organizing classes under trees does not only affect teaching and learning, but it also exposes the children’s lives to danger, Hajia Fusata Hamidu, District Director of Education has said.
She said children are not attracted to attend those schools, while the dropout rate is also high.
Hajia Hamidu was responding to Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister’s lamentation about falling standards of education in the region during a working visit to the district to inspect government development projects, and also interact with workers of the District Assembly.
She said the schools were more than 80, but the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr. Joseph Yeleh Chireh, had provided two school blocks with his share of the Common Fund.
She said the MP also collaborated with the Ghana Education Trust Fund to build three school blocks, to reduce the number from 85 to 80.
The District Director said even though the Assembly was providing teachers quarters in some of the schools, teachers were still faced with accommodation challenges, and appealed to citizens in the area to help provide decent accommodation to the teachers to stay in the communities and teach.
Mr. Maalu Dominic, District Director of Agriculture, who also responded to Alhaji Sulemana about the high level of malnutrition among children below five years in the region, attributed the situation to the menace of Fulani herdsmen on food production.
He said the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, had developed varieties of cassava and other crops which could help improve the nutritional status of children.
He, however, bemoaned the activities of Fulani herdsmen which scared farmers from cultivating those crops, because the cattle always destroyed them, and put the farmer and their families in distress.
The Fulani herdsmen and their cattle had destroyed cassava fields and other crops introduced to them, discouraging farmers from venturing into dry season farming.
He said farmers could use the abundant water in the Black Volta River and some of the dams and dug-outs in the communities to improve food crop production, to enhance their livelihoods, but for the herdsmen and their cattle, such ventures could not be carried out.
Mr. Dominic appealed to the District Assembly and other stakeholders to take measures to address the activities of herdsmen and their cattle, to help improve food production to cater for nutritional needs of children.
Alhaji Sulemena urged government workers in the districts to support the district chief executives to supervise and monitor government’s pro-poor interventions to get to the poor.
He urged workers to work hard to make life meaningful for the people, saying government was doing so much to elevate the suffering among the people, yet many were still poor, while standard of education was also falling.
Alhaji Sulemana advised the workers to change their attitude towards work, by avoiding lateness, laziness and wasting working hours idling or doing private work.
He also appealed to them to accept transfers in good faith without apportioning blame to people, or politicizing them because that would not help in the development of Ghana.