Provide schools in deprived communities to save lives

On Tuesday, tragedy struck the country when it lost eight of its children in a boat disas­ter in Wayokope, a fishing community in the Sene East District of the Bono East Region while on their way to school.

The now deceased chil­dren were part of 20 pupils commuting from Atikagome to Wayokope, where the only school in the area is located, when the incident occurred midway into the journey.

It is sad that the deceased were made up of five boys and three girls aged five to 12, according to the infor­mation from the local office of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana.

We extend our sympa­thies to the bereaved family, friends, the school, the com­munity and all others who were close to the children.

No doubt, the family and the entire country have lost budding lives who could have been productive citizens to help in nation building Naturally, the young children were a source of pleasure to the family in particular and so it will take some time for the family to come to terms with their loss.

Therefore, we encour­age them to be strong in their moments of sorrow.

We agree that travel by boat cannot be eliminated from the country now as some communities are not connected by road.

However, it is sad to hear that the children involved in the Sene East District boat disaster got their lives cut short because they had to travel to and fro another com­munity to attend school because there is none in theirs.

This is an indictment on the Sene East District Assembly and, for that matter, the government.

Why did the assembly not provide even a pa­vilion as a school for the community in the face of the frequent boat disasters in the country, to, at least, save innocent young lives?

Such a structure could have brought joy to the community because it would have been a mark of development there.

After all, we live in a country where some children still attend classes under trees even though there are some offi­cial claims that all such schools have been elimi­nated.

The current disaster should inform policy makers to ease some of the conditions for or the restrictions on provision

 of schools in certain commu­nities, particularly regarding the number of children to attend the school.

We think it is about time school infrastructure was provided in certain deprived communities like Atikag­ome to save young lives and also save some children the trouble of making dangerous journeys to and from school.

District assemblies in such communities can support the communities to use local raw materials to build and main­tain such schools until the time a better infrastructure can be provided.

Once talking about school infrastructure, we must point out that it seems one problem is the outrageous cost put on such facilities.

Compared with facilities provided by individuals and also private organisations, the state facilities bear outrageous cost and this must be checked to make it easy for deserving communities to have their share of the national cake in the education sector.

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