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Regional News Sat, 5 Mar 2005

Bishop calls on chiefs to show interest in education

Tamale, March 5, GNA - The Catholic Bishop of Damongo, the Most Reverend Philip Naameh, has called on chiefs in Northern Ghana to show interest in education. He said they could do this by establishing education funds and releasing lands for education facilities while they should demand school infrastructure as compensation for such lands instead of money to promote education in their areas.

Bishop Naameh was speaking at the fifth Joint Annual Northern Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary/Technical Schools (CHASS) in Tamale on Thursday.

He said: "It is sad to note that instead of our educated chiefs bringing their education to bear on their traditions and culture, they rather allow the traditions and culture to stand on their education". The three-day conference was on the theme: "The impact of poverty and conflict on quality education delivery in Northern Ghana - The way forward".

The forum would offer the heads drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions the opportunity to take stock of their past achievements and failures in their institutions and to strategize to improve on their performance.

Bishop Naameh said: "The lack of a vision for education and the desire to work for education is a form of poverty that affects education delivery", adding that unless this situation is addressed, no amount of aid could facilitate good education delivery in the North.

He said many well-informed people from the North did not appreciate the difference education had made in their lives and therefore did not see the need to contribute towards the education of others.

"We are ready to leave a job of great service to humanity and go for a smaller job that pays well", he said, citing the example of some teachers leaving the teaching field and joining NGOs, to buttress his point.

Bishop Naameh noted that there is a certain mentality among some educated people that a native must head schools and educational systems located in their areas, describing this notion as disturbing and impeding the progress of education.

He said: "Such people will do everything possible even if it means engaging a less qualified or competent person to head the institution provided he or she is a native".

He said this practice was morally wrong and could demoralise better qualified persons and preventing them from giving of their best. "If I am denied the opportunity to serve my institution because an ethnic group has teamed up against me, what will you expect me to do to someone from this ethnic group when I am in a position of authority?" "Do you see how we sow seeds of division and ethnicity and turn our educational institutions into breeding grounds for ethnic conflicts and tribalism?" the Bishop asked.

Bishop Naameh urged stakeholders in education in the North to impress on heads of schools that are performing poorly on yearly basis to improve upon their educational standards.

Source: GNA