Ghana Education Service Needs Restructuring
When I started school as a little boy, I had to carry my rickety table and stool to and from school each day. Then at a point, we only had to send the table and the stool to school when it reopened and again had to send it home at the end of the term. It was much more convenient. This was the practice when I started school but things changed along the way.
A school in the northern region has been in the news for lack of furniture. The situation compelled the pupils in that school to learn and write laying prostrate on the ground. People are blaming the government but I will blame the GES for their lack of proper supervision. There is also ineffective communication between the heads of schools and the District Directorate of Education. And mind you, the GES has a structure such that a head of a school cannot jump one structure to the other to have a pressing issue dealt with the urgency it deserves. If a head of a school dares do so, he would enter the wrong books of the District Directorate of Education and that can affect his or her promotion or suffer unfair transfer.
I heard in the news that the headmistress was quizzed over her decision to allow Dr Bawumia into the school that resulted in the exposé.
It is pointless blaming the headmistress and Dr Bawumia in that matter. Come to think of it, there are many schools without furniture. And there are those with pieces of furniture that have outlived their usefulness and thereby pose serious health threats to the students. But we are not talking about them. We should also talk about how often furniture should be replaced in schools. Don't our politicians change their room furniture or those in the offices of public and civil servants, periodically? Why can't we apply the same system in our public schools?
Why should it take Dr Bawumia's visit to the school only for action to be taken to provide furniture for the school? Is the District Directorate of GES claiming they, until the exposé, were not aware of the situation? What has become of school inspection in the GES? Or what do they look out for during inspection ---- lesson notes, staff attendance? So the officials of the GES who have been visiting that school for inspection feel very happy and comfortable seeing the pupils laying prostrate on the ground to write? Aren't the GES aware that sitting position has psychological effect on a pupil's ability to learn?
It's becoming a fatal norm the way we reduce everything to politics. Dr Bawumia is being accused of attempting to score a political point by that singular action. Are those accusing him saying they would have behaved any different from what he has done?
It is a fact that no one government would be able to solve all the problems of this country. If that were the case, we wouldn't have had schools being ran under trees. Development is not an event; it is a process. And this is the reality we must wake up to. President Kufuor did his part and President Mahama is doing his. The next government would certainly not come and fold its arms.
Let me conclude by saying bravo to the headmistress for her courage and her preparedness to suffer any consequences especially so when her action has resulted in the provision of furniture for the school. I really admire her courage and we need more of her type! Many of us will not be so willing to lose our bread in the service of others or for a larger interest.