A head-teacher who was compelled to quit his office room for some deprived schoolchildren at a public school in the Upper East Region and had to do his administrative work under a tree has got a “magnificent” office chamber in return from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East, Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine.
Headed by Peter Awuni at present, the Nimolgo Primary School, situated at Zonno-Zoore in the Bolgatanga East District, had just four classrooms prior to a recent intervention by the former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Year after year, the kindergarten class had its lessons in the head-teacher’s office. Those who had completed primary four had to continue with the remaining two years of their primary-education journey at a different public school located in a next-door community. That adjoining community required crossing a rivulet (a small river) to reach. Some pupils did not leave the school after concluding their fourth year in the primary unit. To accommodate them, the school’s hard-pressed management paired primary one and primary two to one classroom, put primary three and primary four together in a room and made primary five and primary six to share the same space. As a result, the fairly used four-unit classroom structure― the only building the school had― was overcrowded.
When the state of the school came to the MP’s notice during his 2012 election campaign tour of the constituency, he promised to bring that situation to an end. In 2021, a classroom block, the design of which policy watchers describe as “classic” and now prescribe for basic schools nationwide, emerged on the school’s premises in fulfillment of that campaign pledge. The new block has within itself six classrooms, a staff common room, a computer science centre, lavatories and an exclusive office slot for the head-teacher among other features.
“I promised them that I was going to bring education nearer to them. And this is the result of that promise. I wasn’t able to fulfill the promise in my first term. So, in my second term, I decided that I was going to devote the entire sum of money allocated to me as the MP for the area by the GETFund (Ghana Education Trust Fund) in order to develop this facility. For the four years in my second term, all the allocations that I got from GETFund were devoted to putting up this structure. You would realise that the concept of this school is very different. I could have just built another six-unit classroom block and it could have cost the public purse less.
“But I decided that it’s high time we changed the concept of our education infrastructure especially in rural areas. We usually would construct school blocks without toilets, without restrooms, without staff common rooms and even without offices for the head-teachers. The head-teacher is the administrator of the school and yet the administrator does not have an exclusive office to himself where he can relax comfortably and take care of administrative matters regarding the school. So, we decided that the design of this school was going to be different,” the legislator told newsmen moments after the building was commissioned.
Finished but not furnished
The structure was presented to the GES, finished― but void of furniture and computers. The MP, who was present at the commissioning ceremony to formally hand over the new classroom block, also pledged to provide the school with computers. This fresh promise brought the already-existing joy on the premises to the highest point.
“Looking into the future, I am hoping that pupils from this community will develop themselves and go further in their education to become men and women of substance in the future. I want them to be greater than I have been. I want them to be better lawyers. I want them to become medical doctors. I want them to be engineers. I want them to be accountants and teachers tomorrow so that this community would be uplifted by the education of its own children. Education is the engine of growth and development of any society. And I am happy that I am contributing in my own small way, using the little resources that government has allocated to me as the MP for the area.
“I want to thank GETFund. And if the Administrator of GETFund happens to [read news about the commissioning of this block], the Administrator should know that there are MPs that are using the GETFund allocation for very constructive purposes and if he wants to use Bolga East as an example, he’s welcome to do so. The monies that are allocated to us are not being misused; they are not being misapplied; they are not being misappropriated. They are being used in order to enhance educational development in our various communities,” stated Dr. Ayine, who also said he would provide every school in the constituency with a similar structure if he had the resources.
Whilst showing appreciation for the new block at the event, the head-teacher also pleaded with the government to support the teachers at the school with furniture.
“I didn’t have an office. My office was under a tree. But now, I have a nice office. My teachers don’t have tables and chairs which they would use to sit down and mark their exercises and write their lesson notes. This appeal goes to the district assembly to see how best they can help us out. I will not forget about the motivation of my teachers. When you look at the Collective Agreement Book, Section 15.5, there is a package for teachers in deprived and difficult areas.
“I am just appealing to our able District Director to see to it that my teachers and I enjoy this package to motivate us to do our best. I remember, when we were still under the Bolga District, they posted some teachers here. They (the teachers) came and just had a look at the environment and disappeared. So, if we would sacrifice to come and teach here, such a motivational package should be given to us so that we put up our best,” Awuni said.
The delight that greeted the new building from schoolchildren who flocked to the premises to take part in the event was like the joy that usually comes with a big festival. Asked why the whole school was in such a mood, two pupils― Jacob Bamgkone and Adoliyine Asampana― told Starr News they felt very excited because the structure was beautiful and it had lights, a computer science room and toilets.
An equally excited-looking Bolgatanga East District Director of Education, George Asira, remarked at the event: “In building this classroom block for this primary school, the Member of Parliament has not only uplifted the Zonno-Zoore community but has lived up to his social responsibility. It is also a show of good neighbourliness and commitment to the school― teachers and pupils.”
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region – Daily Mail GH