21.03.2005 Regional News

Students in Afram Plains appeal for hostel facilities

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New Kyiase, (E/R), Mar.21, GNA- A group of students of the New-Kyiase L/A Junior Secondary School(JSS), a community in the Afram Plains District, have appealed to the Ghana Education Service(GES) and non-governmental organizations to provide a hostel facility in the community to save those of them who faced the daily risks of crossing the Volta Lake to and from school in canoes.

The children, who said they had to walk several kilometers from their villages to the lakeside before crossing over to the school, made the appeal when the Eastern Regional Director of Education, Mrs Ewurabena Ahwoi, paid a visit to the school as part of her three-day working visit to the Afram Plains.

According to the children, they were always late to school since they had to wait for the fishermen to ferry them or release their canoes to them.

The Education Promoter of the Afram Plains Development Organization(APDO), an NGO, Ms Grace Achisah, who confirmed the plight of the students, said their communities, Lesu-Mo and Mataheko, had only primary schools so they had to cross the lake to New-Kyiase JSS to continue schooling.

She recalled that those communities had a JSS, but it was closed down because of lowering enrolment due to the migration of parents and the refusal of teachers to accept postings there.

Ms Achisah said the District Assembly had tried to put up schools in the remotest communities, but observed that parents were reluctant to enrol their children in the schools due to their claims of possible migration to other communities, saying, "they usually use that as an excuse and by the time you realize it, the child had grown passed the school-going age".

She said some parents said they were not comfortable with their children having to cross the lake to school "as a result, the highest education for some of those children is primary six, whiles many of them have become dropouts."

Ms Achisah appealed to the GES to, as a matter of urgency, consider the provision of a hostels for children around the lake to ensure that the policy of equal access to education was realized. She recalled that two years ago, two pupils got drown in the lake, while crossing it after school, saying that incident had worsen the fears of parents leading to their refusal to let their children to attend the JSS after primary education.

Ms Achina, however, appealed to parents to send their children to school now that basic education would be fee free.

The Regional Director, who appreciated the efforts of the Assembly towards the improvement of education in the area, said the appeal for hostel by the children would be forwarded to the headquarters for consideration to enable them have access to higher education. She urged parents to send their children to school to enable the country realize the government's "Vision 2015".

On the lack of teachers in most communities in the area, Mrs Ahwoi, said the Regional Directorate would be prepared to engage the youth in those communities who had good grades in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE) and train them to teach in some of the schools in the meantime.

She underscored the need for teachers in those areas to be given incentives to motivate them, saying, "obviously, those who have accepted posting to these deprived areas are really sacrificing at the expense of their comfort and need to be appreciated".

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