Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Flood at Borkorkope

For the past three weeks, academic activities in Borkorkope, a small village outside of Takoradi, have come to a stand still. Access to basic education, a human right protected by both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Ghanaian Constitution of 1992, is at risk. Authorities seem unwilling or unable to act. Christian Baidoo, journalist at SKYY News, contacts one of the teachers working in the community to investigate.

According to Mathias Kyei, a teacher in the village school, recent flooding on the road leading to the community has made it very difficult for the teachers to access the school. He says that the teachers have appealed to the school board and the local authorities for help, in the form of a canoe, to travel across the flooded road. Since there was no response from the authorities, the teachers have decided to stay at home.

Christian and a SKYY News team visit the community to gather information on the problem. The chief of the community, Torgbui Issanovi, believes that the teachers are simply being negligent in their duty to provide educational services to the children of the village. He explained that the flooded road should not be used as an excuse because the residents of the community have to use the road to go about their daily activities. He adds that there are teacher’s quarters in the community for the teachers to stay and do their work. The flooding of the road is a seasonal problem, and previous teachers have faced the same difficulties without complaint.

The Catholic Church built the school in the village to promote basic education, because children were found to be working on farms, stone quarries and fishing instead of going to school. The school started with only 30 pupils, but has now expanded to accommodate over 70.

The classroom block is a ‘wattle dawd’ building, constructed with a wood frame and mud walls. There is no electricity or running water, but the simple structure, packed with tiny wooden chairs and desks, serves its purpose.

When contacted, the manager of the Catholic education unit said that the teachers have lodged the same complaints to his outfit. He says that he expects the teachers to show more commitment to their jobs, and the children of the village, despite those challenges. He said that the Catholic Church would collaborate with other schools for logistical help. He advised the teachers to go back to school, and promised that the unit will do all it can to improve the situation. The teachers have since agreed to go back to the school, despite the difficulties they face in doing their job.

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