Accra — With about three weeks for the 2009/2010 academic year to come to an end, 96 % of the deprived schools earmarked for the free uniforms are yet to receive their supplies, a research conducted by the Ghana National Education (GNECC) has revealed. The government promised in January 2009 to provide free school uniforms to children in deprived schools.
The report said some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and philanthropists are providing uniforms to school kids in some of the communities making parents to attribute this gesture erroneously to the central government.
The study also revealed that 48 percent of schools in Ghana do not have both toilet and urinal facilities with Volta, Brong Ahafo, Central, Western and Ashanti Regions being the most deprived.
The research analyzed the allocation, distribution, and the utilization of four key educational inputs- teachers, textbooks, capitation grant, school uniforms, as well as the current state of educational infrastructure including school desks and toilet facilities in eight deprived districts in Ghana.
Giving the details of the findings, the study said 48.8 percent of public schools in the country are without urinals, with the highest prevalence in Volta, Brong Ahafo and Central Regions. Similarly, it revealed that 48 percent of schools are without toilets, with the highest numbers of schools located in Western (76.5%), Volta (75%) and Ashanti (65%).
This state of educational infrastructure, according to the report, makes the level of sanitation in the deprived schools very appalling since poor sanitation is usually a bedfellow of poor health. If pupils do not have access to urinals and toilet facilities in their schools and resort to the use of the bush, it is doubtful they will wash their hands after such visits, the report indicates.
The report also reveals inconsistencies in the distribution and receipt of textbooks, especially English and Science text books. The analysis of the variance in the distribution and receipt of the English textbooks reveals among others that about 29 percent of English textbooks did not get to the intended beneficiary schools, even though they were recorded to have been dispatched.
Results from the survey also depict that the pupil desk ratio in the surveyed districts is one desk to seven pupils. It observed differences in the demand and supply of school desks with the deficits totaling 3,093 out of 23,438 enrolled pupils in the schools surveyed. The report shows a poor state of furniture/desk in deprived schools, making it necessary for pupils to carry desks and stools from their homes to schools. In some cases, in the absence of the desks, benches have been provided for the pupils to sit on and write on their laps. Enumerators observed that the sight of pupils sitting on the bare floor is common, especially in Kindergartens.
The report further suggests that although the issue of teacher availability has been overcome in the deprived districts surveyed, there still seems to be a sharp contrast between the quantity of teachers and their quality. An analysis of the Pupil Trained Teacher Ratio (PTTR) reveals one teacher for 175 pupils in the Brong Ahafo Region and 1: 128 for Volta Region.
This according to the report, shows that close to 80% of teachers in the surveyed districts in Brong Ahafo and Volta Region are untrained, with some 70% of teachers in Western Region also not trained.
The report also raised concerns about the inadequacy of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLM) for teachers and pupils in most deprived schools. It explains that this situation means pupils have to share the few materials available (textbooks etc). It also impedes learning as some children will not have books to take home for their assignments.
The purpose of the study conducted by GNECC was, firstly, to track supplies of basic school materials from the sources of supply to their intended destinations. Secondly, to identify bottlenecks in the educational distribution system to ensure efficiency and to work towards blocking any loopholes in the item distribution chain. Thirdly, to provide stakeholders in the education sector with the critical information to fine tune policies and/or formulate new ones where necessary.
The study targeted 160 deprived schools from seven southern regions of Ghana. 20 schools were randomly selected from 8 of the 53 GES listed deprived districts for the study. Each District Education Office provided a list of deprived schools in its district. These served as the framework from which the 160 basic schools were randomly selected.
GNECC is a network of CSOs, professional groupings, education/research institutions interested in promoting quality basic education. It envisions a society which provides quality, relevant and enjoyable basic education for all irrespective of one's age, income levels, gender, physical or other disabilities, geographical location, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.