Dr Michael Wombeogo, the Executive Director of the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to give priority to child protection in schools
He said child abuse, teenage pregnancies and substance abuse by children as young as five years was common in most communities in the Upper East Region, and appealed to the Regional and District Directorates of the GES to ensure close monitoring of schools.
“PARDA and her partners plead with you to ensure close monitoring of schools, utilization of educational resources and parent-teacher awareness on the dangers of not protecting children from their early ages against social vices and challenges,” the Executive Director said.
Dr Wombeogo said this in a speech read on his behalf at the commissioning of a newly constructed Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre at Nyangania, a suburb of Chiana in the Kassena-Nankana West District.
The facility, constructed with funding support from Children Believe (CB), a child-focus NGO, was equipped with furniture for teachers and pupils, play equipment, teaching and learning materials and lavatories all valued at GH¢330,000.00.
Dr Wombeogo said the facility was the outcome of the Builsa-Kassena Area Child Development programme between CB and PARDA within the planned activities for the 2021 and 2022 financial years, noting that the facility was the second of its kind in the district in two years.
He said a comfortable learning environment for children was key to their academic and social advancement, and the furniture would ensure no child sat on the floor for academic work.
“I further plead with the Directors of Education to kindly ensure that adequate teachers are posted to this community to handle the ECD centre.”
“It is our collective hope that qualified teachers will be given the opportunity to serve the pupils of this area and create a difference that will be a cause for admiration by all in not only the Upper East Region, but Ghana as a whole,” Dr Wombeogo said.
The Country Manager for CB, Mrs Esenam Kavi De Souza said for the past 60years across the globe and 26years in Ghana, CB had helped children to break barriers in education to become the voice of change.
“As an organization, our current strategic plan focuses on early childhood development where we focus on promoting early childhood education, health and nutrition of children and promoting responsive caregiving in our communities,” she said.
Mrs De Souza stressed that the foundation of a child was critical to the overall outcome of the child’s development, saying “That is why we have chosen to invest in the foundation of children particularly in early childhood education.”
She appealed to members of the community to ensure that children aged four years were enrolled into kindergarten one and kindergarten two by five years, so that they could progress into Primary School by age six.
Madam Alice Ayinne, the Regional Chief Inspector of Schools, GES, in her address, said even though PARDA and CB had supported the community, parents needed to complement their efforts with the provision of simple educational materials such as pencils and pens for their children, and expressed gratitude to the NGOs for the gesture.
Mr James Aloo, the Assembly Member for the Nyangania Electoral Area, noted that PARDA and CB had over the years collaborated to develop Chiana in the areas of education and health, and thanked them on behalf of the Chief and people of Nyangania for the support.