Teachers and Parents Discuss Ways to Improve Primary School ResultsBy Conrad Richter November 9, 2019
|Community leaders, parents and teachers met to discuss math test results for primary school students
The program, called "School for All", is an initiative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) designed to encourage the involvement of local communities in the management of schools in a democratic and transparent way, with the cooperation of administrators, headmasters and teachers.
|Pre-test math results for Dagbamete primary classes 1-6. The average number of questions answered correctly are shown in the column labelled "Pre-test". The numbers of questions presented to the students at each class level were 10 (P1), 20 (P2), 40 (P3 and P4) and 50 (P5 and P6). The numbers of students achieving 70% or more are shown in the column marked "70% and above". The numbers of students failing to meet the 70% standard are shown in the column marked "Below 70%".
The math "pre-test" results showed that significant numbers of students are not achieving the goal of 70% or higher, and this led to a vigorous discussion on what are the causes of poor test scores and what can be done to improve them. Ebenezer Aglozah, a circuit supervisor for the Akatsi South District Department of Education, led the discussion.
|Some factors that influence learning identified by meeting participants.
Mr. Aglozah suggested that the community should fund the cost of tables needed for the ICT lab. That sparked angry denunciations from Lawrence Awunyo, chairman of the school management committee, and others, who said that the community has already done a lot to build the ICT classroom while the government has failed to contribute its fair share. Not only that, the community feels that the authorities have not acknowledged its tireless efforts to build and maintain Dagbamete school.
To address the problem of inadequate conditions for learning at home, it was suggested that remedial teaching could be offered to students in need. Both teachers and parents offered to volunteer their time to help children but the details need to be worked out. It was also agreed that attractive teaching charts should be provided for kindergarten classes, although it was not clear where the materials will come from.
|Mama Adzorhlor III, queen mother of Dagbamete, addressed the gathering. Standing is the chief linguist, Kordzo Dzeamesi, who relayed the queen mother's message to the gathering. Seated to her right are Ngorbea Davor, the shrine priest, and partly obscured is Lawrence Awunyo, chairman of the school management committee.
The meeting was attended by two observers from JICA, the Japanese agency that is backing the implementation of the community-based school management model in Ghana. According to JICA expert Akari Yoshida, the model has been implemented on a trial basis in districts across Ghana, with the hope that eventually it will be applied for every school in the nation.
Metro TV News Report on Community Development in DagbameteBy Conrad Richter November 5, 2019
Metro TV, Ghana's second largest television network, came to Dagbamete during the 2019 Midyear Festival to film a news report on Dagbamete's history of development funded by the Apetorku shrine. The report by Christian Mahota shows the medical clinic, doctors' and nurses' quarters, school buildings, and water towers, all funded by the shrine. In an interview, Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II, chief of Dagbamete, said he attended the school in the 1960s when classes were held under outdoors for a lack of classrooms and now the school has basic, kindergarten and junior secondary school blocks, as well as an ICT centre – all built by the community with funds mainly from the shrine. Mama Adzorhlor III, queen mother of the village, said that once a week the women of the village do community labour to keep the village clean and tidy. She said that keeping the community clean helps avoid health problems. Curtis Andrews, a frequent visitor from Canada, said that the success of the village is due to the unity of village which largely comes from the shrine and its deity, Apetorku.
Canadians Donate More Than a Ton of School Supplies to Dagbamete SchoolBy Conrad Richter October 29, 2019
|Children with new backpacks assembling in front of Dagbamete school
The Canadians brought crayons, pencils, pens, rulers, exercise books, story books, posters, maps, and learning games, all transported from Canada by the donors in their personal baggage.
The school supplies were presented to the school in a ceremony held in front of the school on October 24th. The village chief, Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II, and the queen mother, Mama Adzorhlor III, were among the representatives of the village present for the occasion.
The Canadians were in the village for the fourth annual Empowered African Child Arts Conference concluded just the day before. At the conference they, along with participants from Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Ghana, led sessions designed to teach ways of incorporating play and the arts in the classroom to over 60 primary school teachers from across the district of South Akatsi where Dagbamete is located.
|The Canadians and the rest of the conference team
One of the Canadians, Kirsten Sixt, co-director of the Canadian non-profit organization Teaching Awareness Through Puppetry, donated two large puppets named "Kofi" and "Ama" to the school Speaking through one of the puppets, she expressed her appeciation to the village for its hospitality and told the gathering that her hope is that the teachers will find the puppets to be useful tools in the classroom. She said that when learning is fun, children learn better and retain more, a central theme of the conference just held in the village.
|Kirsten Sixt presents puppets to the school
Each teacher received a large bag of school supplies for their classrooms. Large duffle bags containing the rest of the donated items were presented to the head schoolmaster, Emmiline Nyakey, who thanked the Canadians for their generosity and for their dedication to cause of helping the children.
Lawrence Awunyo, chairman of the Dagbamete school management committee, expressed his deep appreciation to the Canadians for their kindness and generosity. Other members of the school management committee present were vice chairman Raphael Dunyo, secretary Richard Dzeamesi and others. The school management committee is responsible for liason between the village and school and ensures that the community's interests are represented at the school.
|Lawrence Awunyo, chairman of the school management committee offers his thanks on behalf of the committee
|Chief Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II with Mama Adzorhlor III giving thanks to the Canadians
|Headmistress Emmiline Nyakey accepts the donations on behalf of the school
|Patricia Tyson, one of 20 Canadians who donated school supplies, inspects the contents of the donation bags before the presentation
|Children excited with backpacks received from the Canadians
|Student with contents of backpack
Sixth Annual Atsyiame Clan Festival Held in DagbameteBy Conrad Richter October 23, 2019
|Atsyiame clan paramount chief Torgbui Samlafo IV and Dagbamete chief Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II
Also in attendance was Leo Nelson Adzidoga, district chief executive (DCE) of Akatsi South, who was invited to speak to the gathering on behalf of the local government. Bernard Ahiafor, member of parliament for Akatsi South, was invited but did not attend.
This year's theme was "Education, the Key to Progress and Development of the Youth".
In his address, Torgbui Samlafo IV, paramount chief of the Atsyiame traditional area and host of the event, began by addressing the Awadada and offering his congratulations to the Awoamefia of Anlo State, Torgbui Sri III, on his appointment as the sole mediator for the chieftaincy dispute in Bimbilla by the president of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo. The acrimonious and violent dispute in the Northern Region Nanumba North district has been running since 1994 and has resulted in fatalities, including the death of paramount chief Naa Dasana Andani in 2014.
Torgbui Samlafo urged clan members in attendance to use the chieftaincy institution to resolve disputes in their areas instead of running to the courts, which he said are expensive and do not make real peace. He added that the chieftaincy institution also has much to offer in the area of governance, saying that "government should formally involve the institution in the government system of the country."
|Torgbui Agbesi Awusu, Awadada of Anlo State and Chairman of the occasion, addresses the crowd
Torgbui Samlafo appealed to government for action on the halted road improvement project from Akatsi to Avenorpeme, which passes through Dagbamete. This project has been delayed since 2016 and is a perennial sore point for the residents of Dagbamete and of the surrounding area.
|Atsyiagbekor Group from Dzogdze led by Kofi Avi (seated centre) and assisted by Dr Curtis Andrews from Canada (seated right)
This year's festival was not without some controversy. Many of the women of Dagbamete expected to help with the preparations withdrew their services in protest of the way in which the organizers excluded them from the planning of the event. The next morning the women met with Mama Adzorhlor III, queen mother of the village, to air their grievances and to discuss possible changes to the planning process for future events.
Child Arts Conference Video ReleasedBy Conrad Richter January 21, 2019
A video commemorating the Third Empowered African Child Arts Conference was released today. Sarina Condello, co-organizer of the conference, commissioned the video to celebrate the success of the teacher training program held in Dagbamete last October. Primary school teachers from around the district of Akatsi South were trained how to incorporate play and the arts in their classrooms in order to enhance joyful learning and creativity among Ghana's children. Instructors from Canada and Ghana taught 42 teachers over three days. The conference was the third of five planned for Dagbamete. It is hoped that the schools of Dagbamete and the district will become models of empowered learning for the rest of the country.