25 years of change

25 years of change
Sang School Yard

Busy day in the Sang school yard! (Inset: Muhammad Yakubu, long-time PTA chairman)

Muhammad Yakubu has been the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman in Sang, Ghana for over 25 years, and he has seen a great deal of change during this time.  Among the many other changes, there’s been a shift over the years even in the language spoken and taught in Ghana’s schools in the northern region.  A few years ago, the regional government realized that in the northern regions of Ghana, where over 32 different dialects are spoken, culture is an important part of everyday life, and schools should be incorporating local culture into the curriculum. And so Dagbani (the local language) classes began, along with courses about Ghanaian citizenship.

“While volunteering in northern Ghana, I noted that the children took great pride in singing the national anthem each morning and had great interest in learning about their country and what it meant to be a Ghanaian citizen. It was really inspiring to see,” said Laura Nadeau, CFTC’s Communications and Governance Officer, who returned from a trip to Ghana in November 2012.

Muhammad’s role is an important one. As PTA chairman, he visits the school blocks often to monitor attendance levels and see for himself how teachers are performing lessons.

With three terms to each school year, each three months long, Muhammad ensures that the PTA meets at least once every term so that parents and teachers have an opportunity to voice their concerns.  The PTA meetings are held under a tree in the midst of the village. PTA members, along with teachers and parents, sit in a circle in the shade of the tree to help ward off the sweltering heat.

Twenty-six years ago, the PTA came together to build the first classroom block in Sang, and since then community-based organizations like CFTC’s partner RAINS have helped build an additional three-classroom school block.  They’ve also rebuilt the original school block after it became structurally unsafe.

Muhammad has 21 children of his own and all are in or have completed school. He’s seen first-hand the impact education can have on a child, and talks highly of the support CFTC and its donors have given the community. “We are so lucky to have the support of CFTC and RAINS, not only to help rebuild our school blocks, but to help furnish them with desks and chairs and chalkboards, as well as textbooks, notebooks, uniforms, pens and pencils,” Muhammad said.

When asked how long he plans to continue as PTA chairman, Muhammad replied, “I am getting old, and hope to identify a young person from our village that can act as PTA Chairman soon.”

As in Canada, parent-teacher collaboration is an essential aspect of ensuring children receive a quality education.  As Muhammad searches for his successor in the Sang village, please join us to thank him for his selfless service to the children of Sang in the comments below!