Academic activities in many Basic and Junior High schools within the Wenchi municipality has for the past four months come to a halt, due to lack of teaching and learning materials, including chalk, and inadequate text books.
Pupils in the affected schools use class hours, either to play or engage themselves in other unprofitable academic activities, which are a threat to the economic prospects of the municipality, and the country at large.
The situation has therefore compelled some of the pupils to stay at home, or assist their parents in other economic ventures.
This reporter observed, during a visit to the area, that some of the schools had been taking children to go and work in school gardens, under the pretext of giving them practical training.
At the Abotareye Local Authority Primary, the school children were quite fortunate to be taken through reading as an option, since there was no chalk for the teachers to write with on the blackboards.
Some of the teachers explained that there was inadequate chalk, which made it even difficult to give assignments and notes to the pupils, because most of them cannot write when dictated to.
In an interview with Mr. Raphael Abadu, Headteacher of the Local Authority Junior High School at Awisa, he pathetically revealed that he used to borrow chalk from the nearby schools, but because of the insufficient chalk at those charitable schools, they too have stopped giving such assistance.
He disclosed that he had personally been financing the purchasing of chalk for the school, to support teaching and learning, but that alone was not enough.
The Headteacher further noted that government used to supply them with chalk, but that has ceased since 2006.
Mr. Abadu said several complaints have been made to the Municipal Education Directorate, but they are always told that “there was no chalk at the stores,” and that his school was not the only one encountering the problem.
At the Akete Islamic Primary, Mr. Abdullai Fuseini, Headteacher of the school, confirmed the shortage of the teaching material.
He however said his school still had a few boxes of chalk, which they were relying on for the time being.
He appealed to the appropriate authorities, and the Ministry of Education, to help resolve the situation before it got out of hand.
When contacted Mr. Joseph Manu, Head of Logistic Control at the Municipal Education office at Wenchi, admitted receiving several complaints from the heads of the various schools within the municipality, but stated the situation was beyond him.
He said the few chalk they received last year, had been distributed to the various schools. Manu further told this reporter that textbooks required for the new education reform, have also not been supplied.
He stated that he had forwarded the various complaints from the schools concerning the issue to the headquarters in Accra, and assurance had been given to supply them at the beginning of next term.
He therefore appealed to the various schools affected, to adjust themselves to the problem, while giving them the assurance to provide an equal number of the materials to all the schools.