|Mion GES Director|
SANG, MION DISTRICT– Lack of qualified teachers in newly created Mion District in the Northern Region of Ghana, is severely affecting quality basic education delivery, Madam Yakubu Balchisu, District Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has told Savannahnews.
Madam Balchisu will not state categorically the exact number of schools that have vacancies for teachers in her district, except to say, the district is in dire need of teachers at the moment to serve in the hinterlands where a greater percentage of the district’s 164 primary schools are located.
She also decried the poor enrollment level of girls in the district over the years and attributed it to commercial activities along the Tamale-Yendi road that is passing through the Mion township. “There is high enrollment of girls every academic year. But as they progress from Nursery to primary, they begin to dropout in their numbers to engage in trading or kayayee. By the time they reach JHS, just a handful are left to write the BECE and you only get two or three passing” Madam Balchisu narrated.
The Mion District Director of Education made these chilling revelations to Savannahnews at an end of year review meeting of Sang Zakaria Islamic Primary School at Sang in the Mion District. The meeting formed part of the implementation of Integrated Community Empowerment (INCOME) program by the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) with sponsorship from Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC).
According to Executive Director of RAINS Hardi Tijani, the overwhelming situation parents, pupils, teachers and Sang community members find themselves in currently is what has endeared RAINS and CFTC to come to their aid with support in the areas of education and agriculture.
|GES Dir. (2nd L) receiving TLMs from RAINS Exec. Dir.|
He recalled that, before the advent of the INCOME program, Sang Zakaria Islamic School was operating virtually in an open environment, because all the structures were in a very dilapidated state and it took lots of resources to rehabilitate all the classrooms and built new ones to accommodate teachers and pupils.
“We’re currently sponsoring three voluntary teachers in this school and six others in Zoosali, Bidima and Kpachilo communities to upgrade themselves at the Training College. Some women in this community have also been supported to go into farming to enhance their food security and income situation. In addition to this, we’re donating teaching and learning materials (TLMs) as well as new set of classroom furniture to the kindergarten and class 1 pupils who until today have had to sit or lie on the floor to write. In addition to this, are bicycles for some pupils who have to walk longer distances to school everyday,” Mr. Tijani noted.
INCOME, a three-year program (2013-2015) is being implemented in four communities in two districts. They include Sang in the Mion District, Bidima in West Gonja District, Kpachilo and Zosali in Savelugu-Nanton Municipality.
The program intends to strengthen educational structures at the community levels to engage the necessary actors in quality education delivery; and build the capacity of community stakeholders on advocacy and lobbying on issues concerning education, food security among others.
Project Officer of INCOME Gloria Akugri, said at the moment, the program is supporting 1,077 school children at the basic level and 240 women smallholder farmers in all four beneficiary communities. The 2014 implementing year, she said, has also seen the introduction of apiculture, community animal revolving scheme alongside farming as well as the formation of a village savings and loans association to further improve income levels of families.
“…CFTC and RAINS collaboration pays particular attention to early childhood development, targeting children from ages four to five years as well as those at the basic school level. This is because, though early childhood development education is part of Ghana’s basic education system, this level of education has largely been underserved with teachers, school facilities and teaching and learning materials among others, thus justifying the need for CFTC/RAINS continues support in providing the needed resources in these areas,”, Ms Akugri emphasised.
Meanwhile, like Oliver Twist, always asking for more, Headteacher of Sang Zakaria Islamic School Mr. Atoliya Tychicus Ayamga, appealed to the RAINS/CFTC, GES and other charitable organisations to provide them with more furniture, teachers’ accommodation, a classroom block for Junior High School, additional recreational facilities for kindergarten and electricity to further boost teaching and learning.