Some school children in the Wa Municipality have neglected the Ghana Education Service (GES) e-learning programme and other online learning initiatives to acquire smock weaving skills.
The children are usually found at the various smock dealer shops across the Wa Municipality learning how to weave the highly respected traditional attire of the north.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Master Martin Ahmed, a 19-year-old Junior High School (JHS) two pupil, said he started learning how to weave the smock since he was in class three.
The government introduced the e-learning programme in April 2020 as a measure to engage students at home after the closure of schools in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Master Martin, an Assistant master weaver, said he took a personal decision to learn the trade to acquire skills to enable him to own a centre in future while in school.
“We don’t have a television in our house. I tried joining my friend for the lessons but I don’t enjoy the e-learning because I find it difficult to follow the lessons,” he explained.
Master Abdul Mahama, an 11-year-old class three pupil, said he had a passion for the smock business and had been engaged in acquiring the skill usually after school before the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to him, he had never participated in the e-learning since it began, saying he was now engaged full-time in the learning of the trade even though he would return to school on reopening.
Mr Abdul Rahim, one of the owners of a smock business centre, said he has about 15 apprentices, 90 per cent of whom were basic school students learning the trade.
He said the students often joined him after school but due to the closure of schools, they all report to work in the morning to engage in their skills acquisition.
He said some parents preferred bringing their wards to learn the trade rather than allow them to loiter with friends after school.
“These children are given money for motivation ranging from GHC2.00 to GHC5.00 daily,” he said.
Meanwhile, the GNA observed during the visit that there was a blatant disregard for the COVID-19 protocols as the children were not wearing nose masks, no hand-washing equipment and no physical distancing.
They were of the impression that the virus affected only people in high positions and not ordinary people.