A research conducted by Care International and the UN Universities shows that the youth in some communities in the Nadowli District of the Upper West Region prefer ‘Galamsey’ to formal education due to their parent’s poverty.
In an interview with the GNA after a day’s workshop in Accra, Miss Christiana Nkueama, a native of the North, who was a member of the research team revealed that almost all children of school-going age, as young as ten years, engage in ‘Kue’ or Galamsey in a town called Tanga near Nowdowli.
Miss Nkueama said she became alarmed after seeing some young boys and girls playing under trees during school hours and when she confronted them they laughed off her inquest.
She said they complained of lack of uniforms, books, foot-wears, fees and daily money for school.
Miss Nkueama said when she persisted to know whether they intend going to school, they asked her; “nadibo”? which means, “what will we eat”?
“How can we go to school when we don’t have food to eat and our colleagues are riding on motorbikes and bicycle; we must all acquire these assets or go down-south to better our standards of living, instead of spending all our time under these unbearable harsh conditions in the name of school. For us it is about survival since our parents cannot support us; infact we have no choice but to fend for ourselves”, the children quipped.
A paramount chief of the Nadowli traditional council, who was interviewed, said one major problem facing the district was the lack of qualified teachers. “Teachers fail to come or settle here, due to lack of social amenities and food because the district is the poorest in the whole country.”
Asked what can be done about it, the chief said there should be a well-coordinated effort on emergency, because the problem is beyond the people and the District Chief Executive.
“Look, our people are so poor that the assembly cannot collect tolls, fees and rent like in the south, so the assembly rely only on the Common Fund for almost everything without the people’s contributions” the chief said.
“So, what is the member of Parliament, District Assembly, The Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, SADA and Ministry Education doing to pin down these innocent poor children to go to school for their own future, that of their parents and that of the nation? Who knows where the president will come from in future?”