Pupils of Nsuta Dahomey D/A Basic School in Fanteakwa South District in Eastern region have abandoned school to harvest tomatoes and assist their parents in selling at the market.
Absenteeism is high during tomato harvesting season in June and July every year. The situation is affecting academic performance of the students.
A visit to the school on Friday June 3, 2022 by Eastern Regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah observed empty classrooms as none of the pupils reported to school.
Two female teachers and the headteacher were however present.
Some of the children were seen roaming in the community and others seen hunting for birds.Few were seen carrying tomatoes to the buying center whilst majority had left with their parents to the market centers in Obourho ,Begoro and Asesewa.
Abodobi and its surrounding communities produces large quantities of tomatoes every year. During harvesting period, farmers contract labourers and pay them about Ghc50 a day making it lucrative for the children.
However, most of the parents rather use the children to harvest tomatoes in their farms.
The headteacher of Dahomey D/A Basic School Dennis Ayivi told GHone News, despite many engagements through the parents teachers Association and School management committee to end the menace ,pupils continue to abandon classrooms during tomato harvesting season particularly on market days.
“It has become a problem in the system .It is because of the season ,they are harvesting tomatoes because of that most of the pupils have taken part in the harvesting because it warns them something small and you know this area is rural area and even the parents struggle to take care of their wards.
“So if there is little opportunity for them to make money on themselves they don’t see the reason why they should stop their pupils to do that ,but we are trying our best to educate them how important education is and I believe with short time they will understand. Friday is a market day for this area .Two markets are closer to this area, Asesewa and Begoro and because of this market they use to accompany their parents to the market” the headteacher told Starr News.
Dahomey D/A Basic School serves Abodobi, Yaayaso and other surrounding farming communities.
The school is however facing challenges such as inadequate teaching and learning materials, furniture and stationery.
The lack of school feeding program in the school is also affecting effort to ensure pupils stay in school.
The school has only three classrooms serving KG to class six pupils with total population of about 45 school children.
Teachers also refuse accepting posting to the community due to lack of accommodation and electricity.
The Assembly member Samuel kpartey blamed the high absenteeism by the pupils on these challenges.
“teachers don’t accept posting to this school because there is no electricity in this community.The few ones who accept posting stay in Begoro and commute everyday on motorbike to school so they are always late .
So when the pupils go to school and the teachers do not come on time they all leave to their homes. The next time when the teachers too report early the pupils assume the teachers may not come so they sit home.So as assembly member I have written to the assembly to connect us to the national grid to enable the teachers stay and teach”
According to UNESCO, the essence of education is to help an individual navigate life and contribute to society once they become older.
Research shows that, People who attended school and attained a higher level of education are considered more employable and likely to earn more.
In developing, low-income countries like Ghana, for example, there is a projected 10 per cent increase in a person’s future income for every additional year of education.
Education helps eradicate poverty and hunger, giving people the chance at better lives.
For this reason, parents must strive to make their kids attend school as long as possible. Hitherto, UNESCO enjoins government to work toward promoting easier access to education for both children and adults.
Fortunately , Dahomey D/A Basic School has been selected as one of the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) schools in the country hence will soon receive funds to fix challenges facing the school to improve quality education.