Mr John Nkaw, Country Director of ActionAid Ghana has expressed need for government and other stakeholders to institute measures towards addressing the inadequate furniture situation at some public basic schools in the country.
He said the inadequate furniture situation had negative impact on the education of children adding “The lack of proper seating and writing tools in our public schools is forcing pupils and students to sit on the floor, which is uncomfortable and distracting.”
Mr Nkaw made the call at an event dubbed: “Regional Forum on Furniture Deficit in Public Basic Schools in Northern Region”.
It was organised in Tamale by ActionAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, in partnership with the Ghana Education Service.
It was under the theme: “Complementing Government’s Efforts to address the Furniture Deficit in Public Basic Schools in Ghana.”
It brought together various key stakeholders in the education sector to discuss a survey report conducted by ActionAid Ghana in collaboration with the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) in some selected public basic schools in the Tamale Metropolis and the Sagnarigu Municipality.
Mr Nkaw argued that, even though the issue of furniture deficit in public basic schools was not new, it had become more acute in recent years, adding “Despite government’s efforts to address the issue, progress has been low, and many schools are still without proper furniture.”
The Ministry of Education estimated that as of 2021, about 596,000 Kindergarten pupils, 1.28 million primary school pupils and 425,000 Junior High School Students lacked dual desks in public basic schools.
Hajia Katumi Natogmah Attah, Northern Regional Director of Education, said the furniture situation in the region was adversely affecting pupils’ confidence and comfort to stay in school and called for collective efforts to change the situation.
Mr Alhassan Seibu, Northern Regional Statistics Officer of the Ghana Education Service, who presented the survey conducted in the region in 2021-2022 academic years, said there was enrollment of 156,881 pupils in the kindergarten level with 52,643 available furniture and 104,238 furniture deficit.
The survey report also recorded 339,588 enrollment in the Primary schools with an available furniture of 149,358 and 190,230 deficit.
Meanwhile, the Junior High Schools recorded an enrollment of 99,855 and available furniture of 73,207 and 26,648 deficit.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, commended ActionAid Ghana for the initiative, saying “The furniture situation in the region was quite dire and requires all stakeholders to act immediately.”
He urged various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to prioritise channelling most of their revenues towards addressing the furniture situation in their areas.
Mr Samuel Oppong Kwabiah, Programmes Manager at Children Believe, in a solidarity message, said the furniture situation was more of human right issue, which denied many children from accessing formal education in the region.
He called on the government to increase budgetary allocation to the education sector to help address the situation.