By: Tabitha Kugbonu | Voltaonlinegh.com |
Schools are the platforms for which this right is enhanced. A school is capable of facilitating this right when adequate infrastructure are available_ libraries, classrooms, dining halls, laboratories and workshops, furniture and other teaching and learning materials.
On the contrary, across the length and breadth of this country, schools, right from the Kindergarten (KG) to the Senior High School level are bedeviled with infrastructural challenges, a challenge that keeps making it difficult for the academic success of those who happen to attend these schools
Globally, access, equity and quality form the basis of every educational sector.
These are defined largely by the adequacy or inadequacy of infrastructure as well as teachers. As much as governments over the years have been making tremendous efforts in the educational sector, there are still schools in the rural areas where pupils and students learn under trees or in dilapidated classrooms and under other discouraging conditions.
These infrastructural challenges have dire consequences on the safety, contact hours and intellect of the pupils and students; abrupt end of class hours as a result of rains resulting in truancy and consequently, the annual abysmal performance of pupils and students at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Over the years, there has been a lame excuse. The government cannot do it all, a reason that sounds good but not a good sound reason. It is lame because all the resources that must be used to develop the educational sector is vested in the hands of the state and held in trust for the people by the government. So why can government not do all?
It is high time that those who are voted for to manage the affairs of this country rose above this excuse and addressed these challenges without making any excuses because it does not exonerate them. Education is crucial to the development of every nation. It exposes people to the challenges that confront them and provides them with skills to find sustainable solutions to these problems.
The right of every Ghanaian child to undergo education must not be compromised.
In fact, municipal and district education offices in the rural parts of the country are facing the challenge of poor infrastructure.
Is it not appalling that most municipal and district education offices cannot boast of computers and stationery for their day to day administrative roles? How then can we find lasting solution to the falling educational standards?
As a nation, it then becomes a tall order for us to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all” and its target 4(a), “build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all”
Poor infrastructure defeats the principles of access, equity and quality. For instance, if a school lacks a science laboratory, students cannot understand the practicality of chemistry, Physics or Biology. Access, equity and quality are meaningless if schools lack facilities that promote teaching and learning. At the end of the day, it is as if we have made three steps forward and nine steps backward.
The problem of poor infrastructure runs through our educational sector right from early childhood to the Senior High school level. Such is the situation of a school at a rural community of Awusakpe in the South Tongu Distrcit.
Pupils of Salvation Army Primary School at Awusakpe in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region have been sitting on stones and learning under trees and in dilapidated classrooms. This has been the challenge facing the school with a population of 114 pupils and which runs from KG1 to Primary 6. Established since 2012, the school lacks so many teaching and learning materials.
The South Tongu District Assembly through the Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Kwabla Mensah Woyome started a three-unit classroom block funded by GETfund in 2015 but has stalled due to a change in government.
A native of the Awusakpe community (name withheld) also started a two-unit classroom block in order to find a lasting solution to the situation.
The Headmaster of the School, Mr. Clement Apperkon in an interview during the 7th anniversary of the school, disclosed that the challenges facing Salvation Army Primary School are such that they reduce “access, equity and quality” being preached, to nothing but mere words.
The situation of infrastructural challenges in schools across the length and breadth of the nation is a constant denial of educational rights of the Ghanaian child-a denial that has become an avenue for politicians to exploit in providing the teaching materials to these schools. What a pity that we do this to ourselves?
There’s the need to begin a revolution of ensuring that every child goes to school – a school that government has provided with enough tables and chairs, spacious and well ventilated classrooms, standard sanitation facilities, spacious and well-furnished laboratories, spacious libraries that have all the text books and supplementary reading materials, computer laboratories furnished with computers and their accessories, a safe environment, well- motivated teachers and a balanced meal.
Only then can we declare that we are pursuing accessible, equitable and quality education. Only then it portrays that we understand that Education Is a Right.
NB: The writer is a Broadcast Journalist