The NDC in the Volta Region expresses profound concern and disappointment following the Education Minister’s recent visit to the flood-affected communities devastated by the spilling of excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams. Despite the Minister’s visit, his lackadaisical attitude towards the plight of a whooping 690 teachers and 20,495 pupils in these hard-hit communities remains deeply troubling.
The flood disaster in these communities has had severe repercussions on the education sector. Schools are in ruins, classrooms remain inaccessible and unusable, and learning materials have been washed away. The teachers and pupils in these settlements, as we speak, continue to suffer, and it is very disheartening to see the Education Ministry’s response palpably falling short of addressing these urgent needs thus jeopardizing the education of these future leaders.
We appreciate the visit by the Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and his Deputy, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour at the early stages of the disaster. Unfortunately, we are observing rather sadly, that after the visit, there is nothing significant from their outfit to ameliorate the plight of the pupils and teachers affected by the spillage to engender the academic work.
These pupils have lost their school uniforms, sandals, books and other stationeries due to the spillage. Some schools have been submerged, some flooded, roads linking these schools have become inaccessible while classrooms available are being used as safe havens for the affected victims, thus completely grinding effective learning to a halt.
We reiterate our call to the government to take immediate and decisive actions to assist these communities. The Education Minister must deliberately prioritize the rehabilitation and upgrading of the affected schools to enable students to resume their education in a safe and conducive environment.
Furthermore, the 690 teachers who have been badly affected should be assisted so they can be in the right frame of mind to educate our young ones.
Below is the district by district breakdown of pupils and teachers greatly affected:
Boys – 265
Girls – 262
Total – 527
Boys – 713
Girls – 683
Total – 1,396
Boys – 275
Girls – 234
Total – 509
GRAND TOTAL – 2,432
Teachers Affected – 83
Male – 1317
Female – 536
Total – 1,853
Male – 76
Female – 27
Total – 103
Male – 3,593
Female – 3,444
Total – 7,037
Male – 131
Female – 87
Total – 218
Boys – 1,043
Girls – 1,038
Boys – 2,899
Girls – 2,879
Boys – 841
Girls – 761
Total No. of Pupils – 9,173
Teachers Affected – 286
There are other remote recorded cases in Anlo, Keta, South Dayi, North Dayi and Kpando bringing the total number of schools affected in the lower Volta basin to seventy nine (79)
In light of this dire situation, Volta NDC proposes a set of measures to ameliorate the plights of the affected teachers and pupils, ensuring they can continue their education and rebuild their lives:
1.We recommend allocating emergency relief funds to affected communities to provide immediate assistance for teachers and pupils who have lost their homes or belongings due to the flood. This financial support will help them recover and continue their education.
2. The Volta River Authority (VRA) should join the other philanthropic individuals and organizations to immediately construct pavilions that are to be used as learning centers since the water is not receding as expected.
3. In areas where the construction of the pavilion is not possible, a shift system should be adopted for the teaching of these affected pupils.
4. The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) should do well to urgently provide Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs), school uniforms, footwears, backpacks and other essentials for these displaced pupils.
5. The affected teachers who have lost their belongings and homes should be given the needed financial assistance to enable them have the right frame of mind to teach these pupils.
6. Attention must be paid to the emotional toll this disaster has taken on pupils and teachers and the appropriate counseling services and support programs be provided to help them cope with trauma and stress resulting from the devastation.
7. Specialized training must be offered to teachers on how to support pupils who have experienced trauma. This training should help educators create a safe and nurturing environment for learning.
8. Resilience education must be incorporated into the school curriculum to prepare pupils for potential natural disasters and the importance of environmental conservation.
9. The Minister should immediately release a timetable for the resumption of teaching and learning in the affected areas.
The Volta Region NDC remains resolute in its commitment to advocating for the inalienable rights and well-being of the affected communities, teachers, and pupils. Education is a fundamental human right, and it is the government’s responsibility to protect and provide for it, particularly in times of such crisis as being witnessed as a nation.
Sorkpa Kafui Agbleze
(NDC Volta Regional Communications Officer)