Reports of inadequate furniture in schools across Ghana have raised concerns as students are forced to sit on the bare floor during lessons.
A new trend has emerged in some communities in the Northern region, where women have resorted to breaking the limited available furniture in schools for firewood.
The Northern Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has noticed that women in the Sagnarigu municipality are stealing wooden furniture from basic schools in the area to use as firewood.
Mr Alhassan Seibu, the GES Regional Statistics Officer, shared that some women in the community enter Education Ridge Basic School and break the wooden furniture in classrooms to set fire to it. He also mentioned that scrap dealers steal metal furniture and sell them as scraps.
Addressing the issue, Mr Seibu expressed his concerns: “There is a current trending issue, some Sagnarigu women come to the classrooms, break the wooden furniture, and go to set fire to it because our rooms are not secured. If you talk about the scrap dealers – the metal furniture – they also break in and carry them to go and sell as scraps. This is the current trend that is developing in the area where I am staying, and I know it is the same in other districts. In Savelugu, an NGO went and donated over 500 desks, and after six months when we went back, everything was gone.”
Mr Alhassan Seibu revealed these concerns during a presentation on the furniture situation in the Northern region and the performance of students in the WAEC and WASSCE exams at the 2023 maiden meeting of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council in Tamale.
The statistics presented highlighted the magnitude of the problem. Among kindergarten children, approximately 157,000 are enrolled, but only 52,000 have desks, leaving a deficit of 104,000 children studying on their bellies.
At the primary school level, out of 340,000 children, only 149,000 have proper seating, and the rest have to lie on their stomachs to study.
Furthermore, at the Junior High School level, out of 99,855 children, 73,207 have sitting places, representing 73.3 per cent.
As for Senior High School students, 41,280 out of 55,876 have access to furniture, while 14,000 students do not have proper seating.
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