E/R: Bormase- Siblinor; Where Children Start School Only At Age 9
In many urban areas and cities in Ghana, children are sent to school at an early age. This means that by the time they are five or six years, they are already in class one.
Well, the situation seems to be very different in many rural areas in the country of which Bormase-Siblinor, a rural community in the Upper Manya-Krobo District of the Eastern Region, is of no exception.
In this village, children until recently cannot attend school until they had turned nine and had enough strength to walk for two hours to the nearest school at Sekesua, a situation residents there say was worrying.
The road to the village has deteriorated over the years and is unmotorable due to the huge potholes on it.
But this is the only means to Bormase-Siblinor and its satellite villages such as Osonson, Korlenya, Brempon, Oluahaye, and other nearby villages in the District.
Residents in Bormase-Siblinor are predominantly poor peasant farmers. Not only are they worried that there is no electricity, health center, and potable drinking water in the village, but the village has for years remained without a school.
“The children are very young so sometimes it takes them more than 2 hours to reach school due to the long distance to the nearby village in Sekesua. Sometimes when they get exhausted, they take a rest under trees before they continue their journey. That is why they normally start school at age 9,” an opinion leader has told Kloma Hengme, the Krobo advocacy and Heritage association.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A SCHOOL
However in 2006, thanks to one Mary Ayongo Agbettor, a concerned citizen who hailed from the area, a temporary school building made from bamboo sticks and mud was provided for the community including paying the salaries of teachers from her individual accounts. This has helped greatly to provide relief to school children who had to previously journey two hours to the nearby school at Sekesua.
GOVERNMENT HAS INTERVENED, BUT...
After years of incessant petitions and public outcry by the residents of of Bormase-Siblinor, in 2012, government had taken over the school and had intervened to set up a 4 unit classroom block and a headmasters office with funding from the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFUND).
However, for four years now since the construction of the school has begun, the 4-unit classroom block that should have taken a year to complete is still not yet completed.
When Kloma Hengme visited the school a few days ago, some of the classes are forced to occupy the uncompleted building for their teaching and learning activities. Here, during rainfall, teaching and learning comes to a halt since the range of the roofing has not been done and this makes the roof to leak badly.
The other classes who could not get any space in the uncompleted building are forced to learn under trees on the compound of the Siblinor D/A School. Here too, classes come to a halt anytimes it rains. Studying under the trees became the only option since the temporary structures built Mary Ayongo Agbettor with bamboo sticks and mud collapsed with time (see pictures)
WE WANT GOVERNMENT TO EXPEDITE ACTION
The residents of Bomase-Siblinor have told Kloma Hengme they want government to expedite action to complete the construction of the school for them.
“We want government to know that the construction of the school has delayed too much. We were told it will take only a year to complete it but this is the fouth year. It seems we are lagging behind in terms of development and we want our children to be educated so they can grow to become responsible children in the country''.
CONTACT MADE WITH THE MP AND CONTRACTOR
When the contractor, Mr Sagbor, who abandoned the school was contacted by Kloma Hengme on Monday October10, 2016, he said he is financially handicapped at this moment and this explains why he could not complete the building. He said he is left with completing of the roofing, plastering, flooring the classrooms, fixing of windows and doors and painting of the building. He said government has not released the GETFUND to him since he started building the school some four years ago and he has to raise money on his own to build it up to this level. so he is challenged financially to complete the work he has started.
Another follow up contact was also made to the Member of Parliament of the area, Hon Jeff Kavianu. The MP confirmed that the GETFUND has not been released yet, and there is nothing he can do at this moment since he is not in control of the GETFUND.
Until the GETFUND has finally been released by government, or any help comes from ''Macedonia'', school children in Bormase-Siblinor will continue to study in the uncompleted buildings and under the trees of the school under the mercy of the rains. May be, they may have to revisit their dark days of journeying for two hours to Sekesua to attend school again.