Ghana continues to make strides to improve quality access to education with successive governments making huge investments in the sector.
The implementation of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and the recent introduction of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy by the current government are some of the interventions that readily come to mind.
Construction of classroom blocks targeted at eliminating schools under trees across the country and the provision of furniture and other logistics in the last few years are also some of the deliberate efforts to address the challenge.
Notwithstanding all these laudable interventions over the years, a significant number of children in remote communities continue to struggle to access formal education.
Some children are even completely denied access to education through no fault of theirs and under circumstances beyond their control.
Danyame-Kwayemu is a cocoa growing area in the Asante-Akim Central Municipality with inhabitants predominantly settler farmers. The village is about 40 minutes drive from Obenimase, the nearest community with a school. It, however, takes over two hours for residents to trek to Obenimase.
The only means of transportation is via ‘aboboyaa’ which is mostly used for transporting foodstuff and cocoa to market centres.
As a result, if not all, most of the children in the community virtually do not attend school since they cannot make a daily round trip of about four hours. They are often compelled to forfeit early childhood education because they start school only after 12 years.
It was, therefore, a huge sigh of relief when a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Emmanuel Dela Tega, initiated the establishment of a school in the area.
Rev. Tega who was posted to Obenimase to superintend over the Victory Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana realised the lack of education for the children of Danyame-Kwayemu in the course of his pastoral duties. After a series of engagements with the people, a consensus was reached to start a school in the area to cater for the children’s educational needs.
Through the leadership of Rev. Tega, they were able to secure an abandoned poultry farm and converted it to two classrooms, accommodating pupils from KG to class 2.
Two senior high school leavers working on cocoa farms were engaged to teach the children.
The ordeal of the community came to the attention of Mrs Theodosia Jackson, Principal of Jackson College of Education through Rev. Tega in his quest to improve the life of the pupils in the rural community.
Mrs Jackson who was touched by the suffering of the school children in the community awarded the Reverend Minister for the leading role he played in the establishment of the school. This gesture was in line with the commitment of the Jackson College of Education to promote rural education through teacher training.
At the same event, the Metropolitan Chief Executive for Kumasi, Mr Ossei Asibey Antwi, donated an amount of GH¢ 5,000.00 to support the school.
Mrs Jackson went a step further to grant scholarships to the two teachers, Emmanuel Abugri and Theresa Adalago, to pursue a three-year Diploma in Basic Education at Jackson College of Education.
Passionate about the provision of quality education for rural dwellers, Mrs Jackson took some time off her busy schedule to visit the school to acquaint herself with the challenges of the school. It was against this background that she led a team of workers of the College and the media to present assorted items to the school as a token to encourage teachers and the children to strive for success on the first day of the new academic year.
The items included various teaching and learning materials, cooking utensils, soft drinks, eating plates, bags of rice, bags of gari, bags of beans and other sweets. The over hundred children were also provided with school uniforms and shoes.
The children who reported to school with their parents wore their uniforms after which they were offered dinner.
An elated Mrs Jackson said, contributing to the education of children in rural communities was a passion she cherished so much. She said raising the standard of education in deprived communities is the prime focus of Jackson College of Education.
She emphasized the need for the government to commit more resources to rural education to create equal opportunities for children in those parts of the country. She stressed that children in rural communities sit for the same BECE papers with their counterparts in the cities yet, they lack qualified teachers and adequate infrastructure.
She called on civil societies and benevolent organizations to lead the crusade to raise the standard of education in such vulnerable communities.
Mrs Jackson lauded Rev. Tega for coming to the rescue of the children and urged other philanthropists to emulate his shining example to make society a better place.
Emmanuel Abugri is one of the teachers handling the children. He teaches both class one and two in the same classroom with each class facing the opposite direction. This arrangement, according to him, is very challenging as it makes it difficult for the children to concentrate on the learning process. He is however not perturbed and remains committed to imparting knowledge to the innocent children.
He expressed gratitude to Mrs Jackson for the opportunity to train as a professional teacher at no cost and promised to stay put with the children even after completing his course.
Theresa Aladago the teacher in charge of KG 1&2 called for additional classrooms to ease congestion and facilitate smooth academic work. She was full of praise for Jackson College of Education for the support which she said would boost their morale to give off their best.
Rev. Tega said he was concerned about the bleak future that awaited the innocent children in the area for not having any formal education. He was overwhelmed by the immense support received from Mrs Jackson since the situation came to her attention.
Similar donations were also made to the Presbyterian Primary School at Obenimase where the school children and members of the church could not hide their joy.