The challenges confronting the Ta-ampuurum-Kunkuan Basic School in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region are affecting teaching and learning.
The school, which started as a primary school through a community initiative with support from Peace Advocates and Voluntary Organisers' Association (PAVOA) in 1996, was later absorbed into the public school system by the Ghana Education Service (GES) in 2006. Although the school had over the years expanded its operations from kindergarten (KG) to junior high level, it lacks classroom structures to contain the growing population of school-age children in the area.
For instance, the first batch of the junior high school (JHS) students who wrote the just-ended Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), studied in a community library which was constructed by PAVOA with support from Ghana International Women’s Club, US Embassy and Ghacem Cement Foundation.
Efforts of teachers
At a get-together organised by PAVOA to acknowledge the efforts of the teachers and to strategise for the school’s future development, the headmaster of the Ta-ampuurum Kunkuan JHS, Mr Clement Bafamah, indicated that currently teaching and learning at the JHS level was not effective as the students were crowded in the limited space of the library.
According to him, even though they were managing with the facilities available, it was not suitable for teaching and learning, particularly during the period when the weather was warm, as the unbearable heat in the room made teaching and learning very uncomfortable.
Mr Bafamah stated that work on the uncompleted building for the primary school had stalled but nothing had been done about it since the GES took over the school in 2006.
“The building is roofed without windows and doors. The floor is rough but the pupils have no option than to stay in such deplorable conditions to study, thereby affecting teaching and learning”, he stressed.
Mr Bafamah mentioned that another challenge confronting the primary school was the lack of furniture for both teachers and pupils and indicated, “ if one visits the school when it is in session, one will think that the pupils are not part of Ghana”.
“The books and uniforms of the pupils get worn out quickly because of the nature of the classrooms. They need textbooks and other teaching and learning materials to encourage them to stay in school and learn”.
Appeal to Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly
He also said the KG had some challenges. One of them was that the classroom block and a store that was built by the community and used as a classroom could no longer accommodate the increasing number of pupils, compelling those in KG 2 to sit on mats under trees to study.
He, therefore, appealed to the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly and other non-governmental organisations to come to the aid of the school.
The acting Director of PAVOA in charge of Peace Monitoring and Advocacy, Mr James Akawi-iri, commended the teachers for accepting posting to the rural area and deprived schools such as the one at Kunkuan. He praised their hard work and dedication, leading to the improvement in academic performance and discipline in the school.
He regretted the exposure of children and teachers to the vagaries of the weather, especially, during the harmattan periods and rainy season, due to the lack of classrooms in the area and, therefore, stressed the need for the relevant authorities and philanthropists to come to aid of the school.