10.03.2005 General News

Junior secondary schools housed in hencoops

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Tamale, March 10, GNA - The Pong-Tamale and Nanton junior secondary schools in the Savelugu/Nanton District of the Northern Region are housed in hencoops, abandoned by the Veterinary Services Department, and pavilions owned by the School for Life, an NGO operating in the region. The Nanton JSS frequently has to relocate to undertake classes under trees whenever the School for life has a programmed within its premises. This state of affairs is captured in a press statement issued by Rural Media Network (RUMNET), a Tamale-based media NGO, and signed by Mr Abdallah Kassim, Executive Director.

The NGO conducted an evaluation survey to find out the standard of education at Savelugu, Radatu Afal, Nanton, Tampion and Diare junior secondary schools in the Savelugu/Nanton District.

The statement said the evaluation sought to find out the extent to which government's response was to the declining standard of education and measures being taken to address the problem at the community level. It indicated that, since the school syllabus was reviewed in 2001 most of the schools were still using outdated textbooks, which were even not enough to go round all the students.

At the Diare JSS for instance, only five textbooks were available for the whole school. No student had a textbook of his own. On teacher-student ratio, the report shows that none of the schools had the full complement of teachers, adding that, there were only eight teachers teaching 363 students at the Radatu Afal JSS in Savelugu, while at the other schools teachers handle 90 students in a classroom.

The statement noted that even with the provision of classroom furniture, the story was not different.

It said at Diare JSS, only 33 dual desks had been provided for 155 students with three students sharing one desk, a situation, which had led to frequent complaints by students of chest, neck, waist and knee pains.

It said although there were Parent-Teacher-Associations and School Management Committees in the various schools, the authorities of the Ghana Education Service and the District Assemblies hardly involved parents in taking decisions affecting the administration of the schools.

The statement said in view of all these problems, the affected communities had suggested to the District Assemblies and the Directorate of Education to put in place mechanisms for the dissemination of information on educational matters for the benefit of the people.

They had also appealed to all stakeholders in education to put pressure on the GES to fast track the supply of revised textbooks in appropriate quantities to schools, especially those in the deprived communities.

The GES had also been requested to design a database for the requirement of teachers with the view to stepping up its efforts at training more teachers, while the District Assemblies must solicit the assistance of civil society organizations to provide furniture for the schools.

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