Provide life jackets, canoes, boats to ensure safety, protection of school children travelling on water bodies – GNAT advises govt

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to urgently provide teachers and school children in riverine areas and island communities with life jackets and other logistics including canoes and boats to ensure their safety while transporting on water bodies to and from school.

It further urged management of the Weija Dam and the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly to inform the surrounding communities ahead of time when the dam is to be spilled of its extra water and educate them on safety measures to avert loss of lives and property.

A statement signed and issued in Accra on Friday, by the General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Musah, followed the drowning of nine school children after a canoe transporting them from school capsized in a canal on Wednesday at Faanaa-Wiabomaa, an island community in the Ga South Municipality.

The statement also asked for the renovation of all dilapidated school blocks across the country so that they do not collapse and kill, as happened somewhere in the Central Region.

“School children’s lives matter and we hope everything would be done to safeguard them,and guarantee them a future of security, tranquility and bliss.

“We call on all to come on board to ensure this. Enough of the calamities on the waters, forthwith,” the statement added.

Since the beginning of this year, it noted that, school children from the Atikagome community in the Sene East District in the Bono East Region died when a boat which was transporting them to schoolcapsized on the Volta Lake on January 24, 2023.

In a similar incident, the statement said five persons including three children on March 18 drowned, while travelling in a boat among 20 schoolchildren from Atikagome to Wayokope, in Ada East where their school was located.

Also, one teacher by name Sampson Adu with the Chinekope M/A Primary School in KeteKrachi Municipality in the Oti Region met his untimely death when the boat he was travelling on capsized barely 24 hours after the death of the school children at Faana.

 The statement reiterated that the loss of life of one school child was one too many, hence the need for necessary safety measures to be put in place to avert such unfortunate accidents in the future.

GNAT, the statement said, was appalled at the catastrophe that had befallen the school children, their parents, and the entire community.

“We are sorry, that their ambition to grow up, better themselves through education and contribute to Ghana’s forward march, has been truncated, midway at the prime of their youth, and we cannot but grieve and commiserate with the parents, thecommunity and the Municipal Directorate of Education.

Our hearts go to the parents, especially the parents of the children who lost their lives and pray that the good Lord would grant them the fortitude with which to bear the irreplaceable losses,” the statement added.

GNAT entreated the Ministry of Education, and the Ghana Education Service to do all it could to ensure that children go through the schools in safety, especially those in the riverine areas and island communities.


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