A litre of Akpeteshie (local gin) and a collection of snails as payment for a month’s journey by boat to and from school, has saved the education of little Esther Mortey, 13, a class four pupil of Atikpui Roman Catholic (R.C) Basic School.
The items were enough to pay for her daily boat transport across River Tordze at Atikpui, a border town of 23 kilometers from Ho, in the Volta Region.
Esther and a large number of pupils of the school reside at the other side of the river in the Republic of Togo.
Esther’s parents, who could not afford 20Gp per day to transport their children across the River to school, accepted the offer by the boat owner to pay in kind.
This came to light when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the community, which had became inaccessible due to the bad nature of the road.
Pupils whose parents could not get these items skip classes until the River subsides, and in many cases the GNA was told that their education were truncated.
Pupils, who spoke to the GNA, said they were normally given between 20 and 40 Ghana Pesewas to school out of which they paid their boat fee and often left with no “chop money”.
Mr Lawrence Kuenyehia, Assistant Head-teacher of the school told the GNA that about 45 per cent of pupils in the school live at the other side of the River.
He said when the River swelled, attendance to school dropped with intermittent cases of pupils drowning.
“Even now, many have abandoned school with a few coming to class wet,” he said.
Mr Kuenyehia said the situation affected the school’s performance in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results this year, dropping from 100 per cent to 89 percent, pass.
He, therefore, appealed to government to as a matter of urgency construct a bridge across the River to forestall the challenges.
The GNA also learnt that the area was prone to water-borne diseases such as bilharzia.
Source Ghana News Agency