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Opinions of Sunday, 10 July 2011

Columnist: Adede, Mercy Bolus

A new beginning to reap the benefits from the black gold

Ghana’s discovery of oil is a new beginning for a long term strategic planning. It is also a brilliant opportunity for the Government to maximise efforts in making significant changes in all its ministerial departments in order to address lack of long term developmental programmes in all our regions.

There are so many fundamental areas, which are still issues of grave concerns without any clear strategies: Look at the following example below.

Ministry of Health directorate- Are there any clear strategies and time schedules implementations on specific issues surrounding sanitation which would address all public health issues for example, the promotion of sexual health in hubs across markets to reduce sexual health issues (a major issue), bringing back sanitation inspectors and introduce in every community etc. Who is responsible for ensuring cholera free environment as cholera is still a headache in Ghana.

Ministry of Housing- Currently there are some strategies to build more affordable houses, which is great. Why don’t we build even eco-friendly affordable houses to meet demands of the ordinary man on our streets? There are families among us who are homeless and when they are not live in shantytown dotted all over our communities. These shantytowns must go and inhabitants not kicked out to go our streets but re-housed in affordable home so that all the inhabitants could gain asweat equity of their houses (sweat equity is earning some discount because one involvement in the project). This alone is enough to ensure that the new tenants take responsibilities there by empowering them to eventually take ownership.

Sewerage and its complex issues - Is this the responsibility of the Public Health Directorate, Housing or Education? Ministry of Transport- Road Traffic Accident and Road Traffic Management issues why are there so many traffic lights, which are not functional? Can’t we have solar powered traffic light instead. Ghana has one of the key experts in the U.K, Fred Amoasi. He is willing to freely help as part of their contribution to his motherland and if approached.

Who is responsible for the non- functional streetlights in Ghana?

Is there a strategy in place for a 2-3 monthly removing silt and debris programme in Volta Lake and its tributaries to stop more accidents on our rivers?

Is there a proposal to have trained lifeguard and health hubs for the coastal beaches and rivers?

Ministry of Sport- In China, Korea and U.K are investing to in schools in order to developed and excel in all sporting activities across the world. Is Ghana also investing in sport in the rural areas with money earmarked for each community? What are we waiting for?

Ministry of Education- Ghana’s future generation, various Governments have ignored our economic backups. I read on Ghanaweb that even the Minister of Education has acknowledged that over 5000 schools hold classes under the tree in Ghana. Yet various Governments have failed to address these inefficiencies in our educational system and send their children to be educated in foreign countries.

I challenge the Ministry of Education to ring fenced a budget in order to eradicate all forms of under the tree education within the next 4 years? The general public in these identified areas need to have a say and be empowered and encouraged to articulate their feeling appropriately in order to secure funds to improve their communities via their DCE.

What exactly does educational proposal for this year anyway? Are community leaders, traditional priest, priest, DCE been involved and approached around a discussion table to work in partnership to eradicate this trend since many governments have failed its children and families?

Many of our schools have no basic toilets with hand washing facilities or even no dental services. Some of these facilities are things as children we took for granted in 1960’s. Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah experimental school built his Accra New Town experimental school although low class was classified as the school to attend. It was a state run school which was attended by both rich and poor families around Accra New Town, the children of the middle classes from everywhere plus the children of Cabinet Ministers from Roman Ridge etc. It was a sort after school.

Why have the Ministry of Education failed the children and young youths in Ghana and also failing to see strategic benefits of better education? In the rural areas many parents do not know their right and scared to speak out against inequalities in education?

Kwame Nkrumah to his critics he actually removed inequalities in Ghana by allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to have free education to University level. He even forged relations with other countries to offer Ghanaian students free scholarship to study abroad thus adding to our knowledge investment, enlightenment and shape standard we currently used to. Bravo for these efforts. We have Ghanaians in Ghana who speak all sort of European, Asian and Russian language among us. These people are language professional who could help the country in harnessing business transactions.

Today education system in Ghana is clearly a two tier one with children from poor families being educated under the tree whilst the children of the rich goes to privately owned schools or even overseas. Ghana will never rest until all children are treated fairly which was the situation in the 1960’s, plus I/T system in all our schools and not just selected schools.

After 53 years independence Ghana’s children are still being educated under the trees in this 21st century. What a shame to any President who is still calling himself one reflecting on these identified failings of his Government. What a disgrace!

There is no under the tree education in U.K and even some developing countries because various Governments took educational issues every seriously, listened to parents, worked with county councils or DCE, and leaders of communities. Even in Cuba I do not think the communist regime are practicing this primitive way of educating children and young people.

What role do the Community leaders in Ghana play in educational issues? It seems educational issue are centralised so the Minister of Education is very distant from real issues and may be dictate what needs to be done. Strategies of this kind do not achieve much really it is only the bottom up approach that will go down well in terms of educational strategic planning and implementations.

This is the planning stage for Ghana to see systematic development in all the areas identified. I just want to thank the Minister of Education for identifying these issues.

It appears strategies have not been in place for decades for ensure child protection of our vulnerable among us in schools. Thus leaving our children to suffer unnecessarily just because they come from poor families background with no clear monthly earner in the home. This is no longer acceptable we have oil and so must advance high speed with better educational strategies for all children, young people. I am sure under international human rights; we ought give children a voice in an adult controlled world. This would ensure that children are educated in safe environment free neglect, sexual, physical and emotional abuse. However while I congratulate the Minister of Education for her bold stance since she came to office. I would strongly recommend that she experiences the plight of these vulnerable children during the raining seasons in particular by sitting under the tree one of these days. For it is only when she had experience would takes things to another step. The Government causing children to miss classes and as a result on their development and their efforts reaching their full potential in life.

Education under the tree education should completely come to an end in September 2011.

Do teachers have a one to one with parents in Ghana to discuss the progress of their wards in primary and secondary schools? How can schools expect parents to work in partnership with schools?

Many voluntary organisations within Ghana and overseas are seeing the gap in the educational system as the inequalities are just unavoidable. This is something often taken for granted is countries we termed as developed where children have a purposeful playground to play in a safe secured environment.