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Regional News of Thursday, 2 February 2023


Hunger pushing children out of school in Okere

Hunder is fueling alarming absenteeism and school dropout amongst students Hunder is fueling alarming absenteeism and school dropout amongst students

Hunger among pupils of Nana Banin -Sikoko Presbyterian Basic School in Okere District of the Eastern region is fueling alarming absenteeism and school drop out rates.

Children from remote farming communities in the area access education in the school, however, the absence of school feeding program is discouraging regular attendance.

Head teacher of the Nana Banin- Sikoko Presbyterian Basic School, Charles Kalefe bemoaned that most children come to school on empty stomachs meanwhile the school has not been included in the school feeding program, and worst of all, there are no food vendors in the school.

“Even food vendors to sell in the school we don’t have any of those things, so when the children travel from their various homes to the school whether they eat or they don’t eat there is no food available for them so absenteeism is high.”

The school is also faced with shortage of teaching and learning materials as well as furniture, affecting quality education.

The lack of teacher’s accommodation coupled with lack of basic social amenities such as safe drinking water, good roads, and electricity in the community discourages many teachers from accepting posting and staying to teach for a longer period.

A teachers’ bungalow project started years ago has however been abandoned.

“Since I was posted here as the head teacher, in fact we have been facing a whole lot of challenges, challenges about water, ICT centres.

“Other challenges we are currently facing here have to do with shortage of learning materials as well as lack of desks to aid teaching and learning, so we would like to appeal to any philanthropists who will be willing to help us. I think ICT goes with electricity so we can have the ICT centre anyway but without the electricity we cannot operate so the government should come to our aid by providing light to the community so that the ICT centre can function.”

Nana Banin-Sikoko Presbyterian Basic School was established in 1906 in a makeshift structure in a befitting classroom block constructed by the government in 1992.

Meanwhile, the founder of CFT foundation, Rev.Christian Fetor Tsormana, District Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Mile 50 in Koforidua visited the school to support the pupils with some educational materials and school uniforms.

He said the donation is part of his annual gesture to poor and vulnerable in society.

“For the past six years myself and my team have been doing this , we saw the need to do this when I went to minister in the village in one of the schools and saw what they were going through especially the attendance , their attendance was so low , I asked them and they told me that some of the children don’t even have school uniforms and that is preventing them from coming to school so I took it upon myself I discussed it with my team and we decided to be helping them so this is our sixth year and we came here to support them by providing school uniforms for them “.

Rev. Christian Fetor Tsormana appealed to the government to include the school in the school feeding program to help improve enrollment and curb absenteeism and dropout.

“We’ve been to several schools and some of the places we go to they don’t have portable drinking water, in this community for instance no food vendor is here , the children come to school around 7:30 to 8am and then they leave here around 3pm , we would like to plead with organizations , individuals the government to at least come to their aid with regard to school feeding and stuffs because the last time we came here I had to pick some of them to the hospital some of them were sick , some were hungary so I fed some of them but my question is for how long will this continue so this is a rural community let us all come together and contribute the little we can to support them.There are no chair , inadequate chairs and because of that it’s not a good enrollment drive , so most of them would have to go to the town so we are doing our best to help them in that regard” Rev. Christian Fetor Tsormana said.