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24.03.2009 Education

Rural education & matters arising

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Education, according to an adage, is the cornerstone for the development of every country. Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, realising the importance of education, decided to implement free education for our brothers and sisters in the north. Governments that came after him also did their best to lift the standard of education in the country.

Though there have been marked improvement in terms of accessibility to education of children entering school now as compared to the early days of our independence, the standard, especially in the rural areas, is still very low. Whilst in the early days elementary school children from the deprived areas were able to enter prestigious second cycle Institutions like Achimota College, Prempeh, Mfantsipim and Adisadel College among others, the situation is not the same today, due to the fallen standard of our education.

Various interpretations have been given to this unfortunate situation, one of them being the claim that most teachers refuse posting to the rural areas due to poor facilities like accommodation and road networks. It is an open secret that every trained teacher would want to stay in the big towns and cities to teach, thus exacerbating the problem of the rural children. It must be pointed out that it is not only teachers who are refusing posting to the rural areas. Most Medical doctors who have been trained at a great cost to the taxpayer also shun posting to rural and deprived areas.

It is in the light of this that The Chronicle supports the call by the Essential Service Platform, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that government should consider paying allowance of at least 20% of basic salary to teachers who accept posting to the deprived areas. Since the future development of this country does not depend on scholars produced in the urban centres alone, The Chronicle thinks the call made by the NGO is worth considering.

Though we admit that the country has limited resources, the 20% proposed by the NGO, to us, is not the best. At least, these teachers must be given between 30 and 40 % of their basic pay as allowance to entice others to also move to the rural areas to help improve upon the standard of education in these areas. If this cannot be done due to financial constraints, The Chronicle suggests that the Ghana Education Service must come out with a rotational policy where every single teacher would be requested to serve in a deprived area for a specific period of time.

We are aware that police officers are moved around the country to serve, therefore, there should not be any problem if the GES also decides to do same. We believe that the present policy where a trained teacher is allowed to spend his or her entire teaching life in the urban area, whilst others are also consigned to the rural areas, is not the best and must be changed now. The Chronicle believes that if this was done, it would help to improve upon education in the rural areas.

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