The Washington DC chapter of the Omega Psi Phi (OPP) Fraternity Incorporated in America and Team CSR Ghana, a local NGO, on Saturday, cut the sod for the construction of a five-unit classroom block for the Kuntanase Presbyterian Basic school to give it a facelift.
The move is to mitigate dilapidated and life-threatening structures of basic schools in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region which continued to disrupt education and put the lives of pupils and teachers in jeopardy.
The situation is compounded by the shortage of teachers in the district owing to lack of accommodation.
The district has 104 basic schools, three public Senior High Schools (SHS) and a private SHS.
There are 5,690 pupils at the kindergarten level, 18,649 in primary school and 8,400 in Junior High School (JHS) with a teaching staff strength of 1,188 in the Area.
A lopsided mud building at the brink of collapse serves as a kindergarten block, endangering teaching and learning activities, particularly during the rainy season.
The walls of the building have developed deep cracks with parts chipped off, the cement floors are riddled with holes and portions of the roof sheets ripped up, leaving the children at the mercy of all weather conditions.
The new block, expected to be completed in three months, will have three classrooms for the kindergarten, a modern staff office, a state-of-the-art ICT centre and toilets for both teachers and pupils.
The group also donated three laptops and two computers for the yet-to-be constructed computer laboratory.
The groundbreaking ceremony threw the entire community into a state of joy.
Speaking at the function, Mr Seth Emmanuel Panwum, District Education Director, indicated that the district was faced with a teaching staff deficit of 169.
He said many of the schools were in the hinterlands, forcing teachers to commute long distances from the middle of town.
According to Mr Panwum, the situation was taking a toll on quality education.
“And we all know what that means; waste of effective teaching hours for our children.
“If we can get accommodation very close to the schools for our teachers, we will make very good use of our teaching hours,” he said.
Mr Panwum who was overwhelmed with joy, expressed gratitude to the organisation and appealed for furniture from organisations and philanthropists.
Odeefuo Amoakwa Buadu VIII, chief of Breman Traditional Area and President of the Central Region House of Chiefs commended the group for the project.
He indicated that kings were no longer fighting for power and supremacy like they did in the past, but for development for their people.
“Irrespective of however small the project is, so long as it improves the lives of the people, it is appreciated,” he stated.
“As the President of the Central Region House of Chiefs, we wish that you spread your tentacles for the blessing to reach other parts of the region,” he said and urged parents to invest in books for their wards to read wide and gain more knowledge.
For his part, the President of the OPP Group, Dr David Marion, expressed the Group’s commitment to support deprived and marginalised groups across the country.
“I anticipate Omega will step up and create schools all over Ghana,” he implored.
Mr Lawrence Adutuah-Asiaw, the District Chief Executive, for his part, solicited the support from other entities to help reduce the burden on government and facilitate quality education in rural areas.
“When we talk of quality education, we cannot rule out infrastructure.
“If children have comfortable learning environment, it will go a long way to encourage them to study more” he said.
“We appreciate this and are grateful to all the agencies,” Mr Adutuah-Asiaw added.