The African Education Watch has blamed the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) for the drowning of nine children at Faanaa, an island community in the Greater Accra Region.
The education think tank says the unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the two institutions acted properly by providing life jackets to the pupils based on previous incidents.
The pupils are said to have drowned late afternoon on Wednesday, May 10, while returning from school.
Drowning of 9 pupils: EduWatch blames GES, Education Ministry for not providing life jackets
Twelve people including the boat owner were on board when the incident occured, leaving nine of them dead.
Three people managed to swim to safety.
Initially, one child was unaccounted for, but after a search on Thursday morning, her body was found.
Reacting to the news, Africa Education Watch in a press statement on Thursday, May 11, blamed the Education Ministry and the GES for the unfortunate incident which is not the first to be recorded in the country.
According to EduWatch, when a similar incident occured at Atitagorme/Wayokope, it prompted the Ministry to ensure that life jackets were provided to all pupils and teachers in island communities, but the Ministry failed to heed its advice.
It disclosed that the Ministry only supplied 100 life jackets to the affected community at the time, without extending the support to the other island communities.
“Today’s devastating news about the painful death of nine (9) children who drowned under similar circumstances is very unfortunate and completely avoidable if the GES acted responsibly on our recommendations.
“It is unacceptable that within a space of four (4) months in only two (2) districts, 17 poor children have lost their lives in their quest to claim their right to basic education,” it said.
It has thus reiterated its demand for the GES and Education Ministry to ensure that life jackets are provided to students and teachers of island communities to avoid any future undesirable situations.
“We reiterate our call to the GES, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to develop a roadmap towards immediately providing life jackets for pupils and teachers in island communities, liaise with the relevant local authorities to strengthen health and safety compliance, and construct schools in island communities.
“Parliamentary oversight on this matter is very much required,” it added.
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