Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New challenges

Every morning I cycle to the office through a network of sandy paths that wind between homes, trees and, increasingly, large puddles of rainwater. The other day I discovered the foundations of a house right across the junction of a number of pathways beside the main road. The next morning, after a storm, a fairly big pond had appeared right beside it and threatening to engulf the beginnings of the house if more rain fell.....which it will.
This photo doesn't do the situation justice, but people on motos and bicycles are still finding a space through the foundations. All the land belongs to someone, so each landowner has the right to build a house wherever he likes, especially as there is no drainage or electricity to consider. He will have lived in the village for a long while and surprisingly hasn't thought about the encroaching lake beside this plot. Maybe he fancies a moat. It increasingly amazes me how Ghanaians think......or don't! One day the road system will be completely blocked by a high wall and we will all find another route through someone else's back yard.

I have to say, I am delighted by the water spaces that are appearing around the village. It means the ducks can finally swim! They are denied this pleasure for much of the year. In the bottom of the tree outside our house, a group of 3 ducks have formed a cooperative and have accumulated 12 eggs in their nest. As soon as they have 12 they stop laying and start sitting. Apparently this arrangement has been repeated for a few years. I haven't worked out whether they have a strict sitting rota system yet.

 Meanwhile, a couple of guinea fowl have elected themselves to a duty of some sort around the tree. They parade around making a dreadful racket and are either:- very proud of their friends and want all of us to know; extremely jealous of the full nest; minding the collection and daring anyone to come close or have a death wish as we will be having roast guinea fowl for lunch if they don't quieten down!

I have just returned from a "Postings" meeting, concerning the posting of teachers to schools for September. We had 32 new teachers to post in over 150 schools. The decisions were made by analysing the Pupil/Teacher Ratio in each school. We chose the schools that had a PTR of over 80 (that is over 80 pupils in a class!) to receive a new teacher. The schools with a few less than that will have to manage for another year. There is a huge shortage of teachers, as I mentioned before, and they don't choose their schools. To be in a rural area miles from a tarmac road  and civilisation is not good for new teachers and many don't stay long. Some schools have some volunteer teachers who are untrained and receive a small allowance. In our district there are many more of these than trained staff.
We also posted a new teacher in a KG (Kindergarten/Infant School) where there is not a trained teacher at all at the moment!

There are thousands of issues to consider here, where some people in this education system are trying their best to make sense of things with no resources and little guidance or support. They are the ones who give you enormous faith. Improvements are measured in minutely small steps that often crumble and the priorities that are identified are often bizarre and unfathomable. It is also hard to work out who cares! Hey Ho. This is the challenge.

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