I have been in school most of the last few weeks helping with exam marking and collating results. It has been a busy time. In amongst it all, the Ghanaian people have lost their President of the last 3 years. John Atta Mills passed away during this last week. There was a more sombre mood around Nadowli and the music played was of a more funereal tone than is usually heard coming from people’s houses. However, I have noticed little reaction to the news and as usual, up here, life continues much the same.
I have been typing the Education Service Comprehensive Inspection Report Form which amounts to some 15 pages of criteria. Usually the officers hand write it laboriously and then the typists type it all laboriously! Now they have a version that can be printed and the gaps filled with data. Typists can also fill spaces in the electronic version. This is all to save time. However, I sometimes wonder whether they need these long tasks to fill their hours! The form interested me particularly, in that the reference to gathering performance data from schools is mentioned briefly in Section 25.8. Before that come sections dedicated to the number of text books, school desks and urinals. There is an optional opportunity for Inspectors to observe lessons and, reassuringly, the monitoring of daily lesson notes is deemed of great importance.
I presented prizes, on the last day, to pupils with the highest attendance this year and those who attained the best exam results. This was a serious business and none of them smiled as they received pens and exercise books. Evidently, some of them will not reach the classroom as the children may choose to sell them.
P6 organised their leaving party and spent most of the final day cooking. Rice, spaghetti and fish were prepared in a huge iron pot over charcoal and I was presented with a plate full as well. The children had been raising money to fund it for some weeks by weeding farms, including our maize field after lessons and at weekends. Apparently, the pupils from a neighbouring school had bought 2 goats with their accumulated funds, intending to roast them for the end of school feast! I couldn’t help thinking of the school parties at home with fizzy drinks, salted snacks and loud music in the school hall. Parents will have provided everything and the children won’t have lifted a finger. Nothing comes easily here!