…As MP prioritises education, water, health
Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu constituency in the Volta Region, has said he would give priority to four key sectors, namely education, water, sanitation and health, during his tenure in office as the people’s representative to parliament.
According to the MP, access to education remains a topmost agenda to him as a development agent and that he would do everything humanly possible to implement measures to improve the quality of basic and high school education in the constituency.
Mr. Agbodza, who spoke to this reporter in parliament in Accra, on a wide range of developmental issues in his constituency, described education as the bedrock of societal development.
He said no society can achieve any meaningful development without high-quality education, hence the effort to put up a number of education facilities in most of the deprived communities in his constituency to enable pupil to have conducive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
The MP, who sounded very passionate about education, said he initiated the deprived community education project in 2012, with the support from Pencils of Promise (PoP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to put up educational facilities in the deprived communities.
He noted that, since then, student performance in the Basic Education Certificate Examination had improved and that unreported statistics by the Ghana Education Services (GES) indicated that the last few years, Adaklu District outperformed in the region.
To entrench the performance position in the region, the MP said he would continue to offer more support to students, pointing out that during the just ended BECE, he donated Maths sets to the over 200 candidates and encouraged them to learn hard and write the exams with confidence.
An earlier mock exams conducted for the students through the MP’s office pruned the over 300 students to 209, writing this year’s BECE, as most of the students did not perform well in the mock and had had to repeat their classes.
The sole aim of the mock exams, he explained, was in the best interest of the students and their parents to ensure that they enter second cycle institutions with the confidence of excelling.
The NGO, Mr. Agbodza stated, has since built several schools in the constituency and the latest being the three-unit classroom block at Avelebe community, making up to 12 of them in the Adaklu District.
Asked what motivated him, the vociferous MP said, education is the only tool to be used to propel development and that, “had it not been education I would be at where I am today. I was once a deprived child like those I am trying to help today. So I always encourage them to take their education seriously as it remained the only means to transform their lives and the communities.”
He further told the paper that, while on a campaign tour in the communities he noticed the dilapidated nature of the schools and was moved by how the children walked several kilometres to learn under sheds without trained teachers and decided to contact the NGO for support.
The three-unit classroom block commissioned last week at Avelebe community was the 13th of such schools the NGO, with the support from the communities, put up in the constituency.
The NGO funded the project at $35,000, while the residents provided unskilled labour and materials, including sand and chippings.
The three-unit block comes with class rooms, teachers’ office, store and washroom facilities and replaces a shed, which served as classroom for children in the community.
In addition, the NGO is providing students with free handheld digital tablet computers, commonly known as E-learning, to help with their school work.
This, the MP noted would help fast track education in the area, stating that some of the school projects are still under construction and will soon be completed to enable pupil to have conducive environment for learning.
Explaining his developmental vision for the constituency, Mr. Agbodza said he would pursue a four-key area which includes education, water, sanitation and health.
These four thematic area, he stated, would help bridge the gap of development of the people of Adaklu and the rest of the region in particular and the country as a whole.
“I am committed to human capacity development in all its ramifications, and if that is genuine then education must play a principal role,” Hon.Agbodza said.
Stating why the NGO intervention has been magnanimous, the MP said the constituency would not have gotten the kind of education facilities provided with the MPs Common Fund and that the constituents would forever be grateful to the “Pencil of Promise.”
For instance, he said this year’s District Budget for the MPs Common Fund (MPCF) stood at GHc220,000, representing 4.6% of the total revenue projected for the district, which clearly shows that, the MPCF could not provide the kind of infrastructure necessary for the constituents.
He however called on parents and guardians to take their wards’ education needs seriously, as it remained the only way they could excel in society, saying, ” I know it is not easy, but if parents commit the few resources at their disposal for their children education it will in the end eradicate the cycle of poverty in our communities.”
While acknowledging the pivotal role of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Michael Dougherty, and Mr. Freeman Gokah, Country Director of the NGO, the Adaklu MP called on community members and stakeholders in education to help children to realise their dreams.
He reiterated his commitment to support education in the district and to promote academic excellence.