THE GHANA Education Service Directorate in the Northern Region posted 10 teachers to Kochim, a village in the Kumbungu District, where there is no school building.
The teachers have been in the community for two years now, always riding from their base in Tamale on motorbikes to sit idle behind a thatch structure put up by desperate parents as a learning centre to avoid zero interest in education among children in the village.
The village of more than 700 residents has remained isolated from electricity, water, road and other basic amenities for decades, leaving the poor farmers in unspeakable suffering.
Schoolchildren in the village attend school in nearby communities only in dry seasons and must be between six and 11 years before being enrolled chiefly due to the absence of school blocks.
The situation attracted the attention of an Iranian aid agency, Annur Organisation for Humanitarian Service, which was constructing a mosque for the villagers, to build a two-structured facility near the mosque to serve as an Arabic learning centre.
The local education directorate, acting on the advice of the district assembly, went ahead to post 10 teachers to handle about 150 children after the centre was forcibly turned into a school building.
The district education director, Hajia Abiba Saaka, answering questions about the education service policy of posting teachers, said her outfit was not in charge of provision of infrastructure.
She said the directorate would cut down the number of the teachers in the community during next academic session if the situation remained unchanged.
“This is beyond me,” Hajia Abiba stated.
“This is a nationwide issue; more to the point, we are not in charge of infrastructure; we are in charge of supervision,” she explained.
“So when the problem is resolved, definitely we will have infrastructure there but for now, this is what I’m planning to do; in case we are able to get the infrastructure as quickly as possible and even we are sensitising the community to also do well and put up a temporary structure so that we will be able to occupy the overstaffed, over enrolled pupils,” the education director noted.
Residents are now extending the facility with an impoverished structure built with sticks and grass and calling aid agencies to intervene.
Alhassan Issahaku, a teacher who has voluntarily taught the school for more than three years, said the children were learning under a grass shade put up by a Christians in the area before moving into the mosque built by the Iranians.
“The government gave us teachers without a structure so we the community members decided to have a structure that would help teachers to have the classes but it is not enough. We have only two classes and the children are more than 100. We just want to manage and do the classes so that it can be three or four, so I appeal to the government and non-governmental organisations to come and help us because children from six years cannot go to school unless 11-years during rainy season,” a resident stated.
Mumuni Yakubu, a member of a committee in charge of education in the community, also said parents were worried over the uncertainty of their children’s future as more and more generations multiply without formal education.
He disclosed that the youth, especially female teenagers, continued to leave the area for towns and cities in search of improved conditions. He said most of them eventually return with pregnancies or serious health complications, and therefore called for the immediate construction of a school building in the community.
According to Mumuni, the district assembly, which is in charge of providing infrastructure, said it had no funds to build a school for the community.