Real Estate Times Africa (RET Africa) has launched the Zero Schools under Trees campaign. This campaign seeks to get an accurate picture of all schools operating under trees in Ghana as well as those in poor condition.
The Zero Schools under Trees campaign was launched on March 5 2021. The first phase of collation ended in April 2021. It recorded 2,417 schools in the country. Bono East Region leads with 330 schools followed by Northern Region with 314.
Further statistics by region are as follows: Central 301; Upper East 233; Bono 202; Savanna 155; Western 154; Ashanti 149; Ahafo 142 and Upper West 131. The rest are Oti 117;Volta 101; Eastern 78: Greater Accra 63 and Western 30.
The campaign which also collated uncompleted and dilapidated public schools recorded 134 uncompleted and 2,986 dilapidated schools.
More Ghanaian children are attending kindergarten and primary school following the rollout of social intervention programs like capitation grants, school feeding, free textbooks and free exercise books.
However not all pupils have suitable classrooms where they can sit and learn.
Many school managers have had to improvise by holding classes outside of buildings referred to as ‘schools under trees’.
Freely accessible and basic compulsory education is a legal right provided for by the laws of Ghana with specific reference to Article 25 (a) of the 1992 Constitution, the Education Act (2008) and the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) program.
In 2010 the first comprehensive policy to address the problem was launched by President Atta Mills.
The initiative aimed at constructing proper school blocks to replace all 2,936 identified schools under trees.
By the end of 2017, Ministry of Education sources indicated that 2,031 of such schools had been eliminated.
However, eleven years down the line, schools under trees can still be found in various parts of Ghana.
It is not surprising that huge gaps exist between children who attend school in classrooms and those who have to learn under trees.
Education is able to reduce inequality, break the poverty cycle, foster tolerance and empower people to live more healthily and be more productive.
Education is both a goal in itself and a means for attaining all the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SDG Four for instance calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Pupils learning under trees deserve better learning conditions than what they are being subjected to.
It is in this light that RET Africa has launched the Zero Schools under Trees campaign.
The end result of the Zero Schools under Trees campaign is to mobilize support from companies, individuals and other stakeholders to fix the problem.
RET Africa passionately calls on government and institutions to ensure that all children in Ghana enjoy equal access and quality of education no matter where they live.
Source: Kwabena Frimpong Manso (Journalist, Real Estate Times Africa)