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Opinions of Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Columnist: Ali, Justice

Upper West Region need urgent help from the Government

We the Young Democrats of Sissala East District, in the spirit of contributing to building a society of fairness and equal opportunity, wishes to petition the President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, the Minister of Education and all stakeholders of education on the perennial marginalization and deprivation of the Sissala East District in particular and the Upper West Region in general in the distribution of education infrastructure and projects. This marginalization which is not a monopoly of the NDC government and perhaps, even far more apparent in the erstwhile John Kuffuor’s government, has led to gargantuan retrogression and repairable damage to the progress, and development of education in the district and the region for that matter. It is very obvious, and as many honest Ghanaians would testify, if there is any government in the past two decades which invested qualitatively and quantitatively in the transformation and growth of education in country, it is the NDC government. However, much of these investments have eluded the district and the region. The loyalty of the district to the NDC government is not in question but we are still waiting to see any meaning educational projects in the district and the region.
Mr. President, as you know, education is universally acknowledged as the greatest and most effective panacea to human civilization, emancipation and development. Nelson Mandela (R.I.P) for instance views education as the “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” whiles John Dewey, a former American philosopher and educational reformer underscored that “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. However, when one takes a critical overview of governments’ (both current and previous) commitment to ensuring and promoting accessible and quality education in the Upper West Region, it becomes apparent that most often than not, the region has consistently been marginalized and deprived in very unacceptable ways. Out of the over 500 Senior High/Tech. Schools (SHSs) that currently exist nationwide, as few as 20 SHSs (which is 4%) are in the region and out of the about 40 Teacher Training Colleges across the country only 2 are found in the region. Out of the about 20 SHSs in the region, the Sissala East District which the most relegated among the districts (in the region), has only 2 SHSs - both located in the district capital. The district was originally earmarked for the location of the only university in the region, University of Development Studies (UDS) but for very mysterious and obscure reasons, it was denied.
Besides, most of the few SHSs in the Sissala East District and the Upper West Region as a whole are uninspiring and uncompetitive due to poor infrastructure such well-furnished libraries with up-to-date relevant textbooks, well-furnished laboratories with up-to-date state of the art equipment and chemicals, inadequate classrooms and teacher bungalows, poor lightening system, absence of fences around schools and very dramatic among these deficiencies is inadequate teaching staff to cover all subject areas especially technical subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and English language. These appalling revelations coupled with poor monitoring, evaluation and delivery have culminated in the abysmal performance of students in the district in recent times. Given the deplorable situation of education in the district, government must begin to build more SHSs, more teacher/nursing training colleges as well as addressing the numerous challenges and setbacks currently confronting and impeding the growth of education in the district.
His Excellency Mr. President, we the Young Democrats of Sissala East wishes to bring to your notice that if is there anything the people of Sissala cherishes so much and needs urgently from the government, it is education.
It is equally fundamental to note that, there is an increment in JHS enrolment as a result of the school feeding programme, elimination of schools under trees as well as the increment in capitation grant. Likewise the build up to the conclusion of the policy on JHS writing private examination to access SHS are factors that must be considered in understanding why we (upper west) seek for more than one allocation of the 50 government community SHS promised by the government.
Furthermore, communities in the district such as Walembelle, Nabulo, Mwanduonu, Kulfuo, among others, have been craving and making plethora of appeals to governments for more than a decade now, to provide them SHSs but governments have always turned their appeals into toothpaste for politicians to brush their teeth and canvass for votes. The illiteracy and poverty rates in the district are despicable and worrying and the intervention of government is most need in the promotion of equality, affordable and accessible education in the district in particular and the upper West Region as a whole.
Given this unspeakable antecedence of systematic, continuous and conscious relegation of the district (and the region) to the background in the educational sector, the allocation of the government recently commissioned 50 SHSs project to the Sissala East District and the Upper West Region, is very astonishing, incredible and unacceptable. The allocation has further deprived the district and the region to the extent that the district is allocated none and the entire Upper West Region is allocated only 1 SHS (out of the 50 SHSs) as the other regions’ allocations are as follows: Ashanti 4, Brong Ahafo 5, Central 8, Eastern 3, Greater Accra 5, Northern 10, Upper East 6, Volta 4 and Western 4. It is lamentable that the 50 SHSs project which is a good opportunity for the government to address its educational infrastructural deficits and indebtedness to the district (and the region), it has rather exuberated the imbalances and marginalization the district has been suffering.
We the Young Democrats of Sissala East is therefore making a humble appeal to you, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama, to ensure that the Sissala East District which suffers much the deprivation in the country and in the region in the educational sector, gets fair share of the government educational project which was commissioned recently to build 50 SHSs across the country. Moreover, furnishing the 2 existing SHSs in the district with adequate infrastructure and logistics to meet the standards of modern educational facilities and structures would be much appreciated.
In our final words, we wish all democratic, productive and patriotic Ghanaians belated Merry Christmas and a healthy, productive and blissful 2014.
Long live the Republic of Ghana
Long live the Better Ghana Agenda II
Long live Sissala East District and upper West Region
And long live Young Democrats of Sissala East

Written by: Mr. Prince Justice Ali; Director of Communications of Young Democrats
Cell: 0204803328
Endorsed by:
Mr. Hillia Fuseini; Convener of Young Democrats
Cell: 0209131254
Mr. Adamu Dramani; Deputy Director of Communication of Young Democrats
Cell; 0207075804
Mr. Frank Fuseini Kusaiu- Secretary of Young Democrats . 0208291355
Mr. Hakeem Umar Toniah- Deputy Secretary of Young Democrats 020 9811047.