Field Stories 5 September 2018

how good infrastructure can increase children’s interest in education

Children playing in front of the new school block

Education serves as one of the best preventive measures of remediating children from child labour and promoting a safer environment to facilitate child protection.

As part of ICI’s interventions in Kofikrom, a community in the Sefwi Wiawso Municipality, the community has been supported by the organisation to put up a three unit classroom block for the school.

Upon entering the community in September 2015, the community identified the construction of a classroom block for the nursery and kindergarten children as one of their key needs in during the development of the Community Action Plan. The Community Development Associate in charge of the area, Aikins Twumasi has this account in line with the construction of the school.

“One key issue that emanated from the development of the Community Action Plan (CAP) upon the inception of the project was the need for a KG structure to promote child protection among that age group. Most of the parents were taking their children of that age to the farm due to the dilapidated structure of that section of the school. The community had already started the process and ICI supported them with funds, gravels and other building materials to help them complete the project. The community supplied the labour and sand as well as artisans for the construction of the structure.”

In an interview with Madam Agnes Ennin, the Teacher in charge of the Kindergarten block, she spoke of the troubles they went through and how the new block has aided the teaching and learning process for them all.

“Our block used to be in a deplorable state till ICI came to build a new one for us. Now, we are very comfortable. We have about 110 pupils in both Kindergarten (KG) one and two, we all have places to sit. We also have a beautiful office. We say a big thank you to ICI for doing this for us.”

According to the headmaster of the school, Mr Francis Agbokle Snr, the appalling state of the children’s block had a big effect on the school in terms of enrollment. The current development has changed this.

“Before the coming of ICI, the Kindergarten (KG) was in a deplorable state and parents were sending their wards to the sister primary school in the town called Gina, a private school. Since the inception of the project, a lot of parents have brought their children back to the KG in this school. This has enhanced enrollment in the school. Since the enrollment level in the primary school has increased, it has affected the Junior High School (JHS) too. As I speak to you, JHS 1 has a population of 42, JHS 2  has 46 and we registered as many as 37 pupils in JHS 3 to sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in this small community. I have seen that this is due to the impact of the project because all the sister communities now have schools from Primary to JHS level.

In an interview with the Chairperson of the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) in the community, George Oppong, he spoke of the situation before ICI entered their community and the changes which have taken place since then.

“Before the coming of ICI to the Kofikrom community, our Kindergarten (KG) building was leaking. This was especially serious during the raining season. School closes whenever it rains. Sometimes, the classrooms are flooded when it rains during the night. That day will have to be declared as a holiday for the children. Ever since ICI supported us to put up a new KG block, our children are always in school. We have also seen improvement in their attendance. Our children are now looking beautiful because they dress to suite the new school building. Our children no longer absent themselves from school and classes continue in spite of the rains. We have really felt the impact of ICI in this community.”

Regarding the impact which has been made with the consturction of the school, Aikins Twumasi-Ankra, the Community Development Associate in charge of the community started,

“I now see that the children have a conducive environment to learn in. There is also better supervision of the children now because this new structure is close to the Primary and Junior High School (JHS) sections unlike the first structure which was close to the town. This encouraged loitering.”

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