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General News of Friday, 2 November 2012

Source: The Finder

500 Pupils, 1 Computer… The Situation Is Very Embarrassing

The one-child-one-computer programme, which was instituted by the Kufuor administration and appears to be vigorously pursued by the current administration, still has a long way to go to make the desired impact.

This is the reality The Finder newspaper came face to face with after a tour of the Sogakope District Authority (D/A) Junior High School (JHS) in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region.

The public school, which is only some two hours drive from the nation’s capital, is yet to benefit from the programme, and the 500 pupils have to depend on the benevolence of a parent in their effort to learn Information Communication Technology (ICT) lab (a store room which has been converted for that purpose). With a table and a bench to match, the pupils take turns to have their ICT classes with their enthusiastic teacher, leaving their future hanging precariously on how much they are able to assimilate during those few hours.

From Thursday to Sunday, the computer is relocated to the resident of their benefactor and only resurfaces on Monday for the cycle to continue.

Mr. Nuworkpor Justus, the head teacher of D/A) Junior High School (JHS) ‘A’, described the situation as very awkward and embarrassing in this time and age when ICT has become an examinable subject in the West African Examination Council’s (WAEC) Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). “We have not yet taken delivery of any computer though we have been hearing and watching on television of the government distributing laptops to some rural schools. We have not received any news with regard to when this school will benefit from the crucial national exercise,” Mr. Nuworkpor stressed.

Except in ICT, the pupils have over the years performed excellently in the BECE, the head teacher said, pointing out that the lack of computers leaves a huge dent on the school’s enviable performance.

Acknowledging the gesture of the parent, whose name he declined to divulge, Mr. Nuworkpor wondered how long the school would operate on the parent’s benevolence, especially when it is obvious that he also needs the computer for his private use.

The PTA chairman of the school, Mr. Gabriel Caesar was disappointed that several requests the association had made to the district assembly via the school had not received any positive response.

The PTA, he said, is out of its meager savings doing its best to provide the school with a temporarily staff common room while it is paying a night watchman, sponsoring needy-but-brilliant pupils, among others, hence the association’s call on the assembly, government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and philanthropists to assist the school with some computers.

So until some manna falls from the heavens for the pupils of the Sogakope D/A JHS, they will continue to grapple with ICT as a subject while their fortunate colleagues elsewhere make giant strides.

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