I know I have said I won’t write negatively or whinge excessively about the Education system here. However, there are things I need to write down so I can remember them in the future, things that are so outrageous I won’t otherwise believe them. Nothing is anybody’s fault, of course, as everything is generated from faceless people From government departments in Accra and they are so far away they may as well be on another planet!!
I have mentioned about Capitation (School Budget) before. This funding comes to headteachers termly. However, in June they are still awaiting what is owed to their schools for the last 2 terms. A few pitiful Cedis arrived in February to cover the purchase of a few sheets of cardboard but nothing since. Some new headteachers still haven’t had a financial handover and are nearing the end of their first academic year. In short, they haven’t seen a bean! Financial handovers need to take place with the District Internal Auditor and he retired last month. I expect he will be replaced at some point in the future.
It is clear that despite the nationwide disgust and embarrassment over the end of basic schooling examination results last year, it is only school sport that really matters in our District. Everything is halted to allow Sports Week to proceed. Recently, for 5 days, not one lesson was taught, District wide, from Kindergarten to the end of JHS (Key Stage 3) due to the locality sports competitions. A few children were selected from each school to play football, sprint, run long distance or play volley ball. Everyone else was in a supporting role all day, each day. Many didn’t attend the town park at all and most wandered around showing, understandably, very little interest.
Next week, the victorious athletes from each locality meet up to compete for the District Team. They take a selection of teachers with them and their classes back at school will be without a teacher for another week.
This ridiculous waste of learning time is bad enough but the funding aspect really takes the biscuit! Each term, headteachers have to send a contribution for Sports and Culture from their Capitation, per child to the District and another tranche for the Locality Sport & Culture funds. No kit is provided by the District, nor balls, trophy, refreshment, travel expenses or accommodation. Indeed, Kindergartens have to cough up and none of their pupils are invited to take part in any sports! In terms of Culture Education, there is no evidence that any funding has been spent anywhere during this academic year for the benefit of pupils.
Headteachers are being pressurised days before the competition begins, to borrow money, as they have no Capitation, to pay their contributions to the District. Parents are not expected to provide anything and neither does the District. The schools must fund everything from the football itself to the meals that sustain the players. The only place they can borrow from is their own pockets…………and they are empty due to the fact that their salaries for this month can only be retrieved from an ATM in Wa that has a queue around the block until the middle of the month, as long as it is working.
The Capitation, assuming it eventually appears, has already been spent and will all need to be paid back into headteachers’ pockets. Sports, and the cost of photocopying the relentless stream of bureaucratic, unnecessary & totally unimportant forms from the District Office, have swallowed it all. As usual, I wonder when the academic education of the majority of the pupils is considered a priority.
Rant over! Sorry, but I feel better now.