Rural Schools, Land Reform and other Reports
Every week, RuralReporters.com collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs. This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.
Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:
At Kwajwifo DA School in the Krachi Nchumuru district of the Volta region, the clouds start gathering. Soon it drizzles! There’s a storm that’s whistling through the school, carrying with it pieces of the thatched roof. The classrooms built of clay, bear deep cracks and are on the verge of splitting apart. They are death traps! Suddenly, school closes, a pupil runs to rescue the National flag that hangs in the middle of the school compound and everyone is set to a confused, disorderly haste.
Children, from kindergarten to junior high school, are seen running helter skelter. Their books splatter the compound in their rush for shelter. This is no fiction; it’s a reality and a norm in a rural school in Ghana.
South Africa will need to review its land reform policy, with an eye to boosting productive land use among the rural poor, if it is to push back rising poverty levels.
The country’s poverty levels have increased sharply over the past five years with an additional 3 million people now classified as living in absolute poverty. This means about 34 million people from a population of 55 million lack basic necessities like housing, transport, food, heating and proper clothing.
Much of the commentary on these sad statistics has emphasised the poor performance of urban job creation efforts and the country’s education system. Little has been said about the role of rural development or land reform.
In Kenya, chronic teacher absenteeism, lack of inputs that include decayed school infrastructure, or its absence – especially in areas where pupils study under trees – and weak management are typically severest in communities that serve the poorest students in rural areas and urban slums. Consequently, it’s not just spending patterns that disadvantage learning in marginalised areas, but also the fact that resources are used inefficiently there. “In this regard, public policy in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa has widened social gaps rather than offer all children an opportunity to learn,” says world Bank.
Former deputy Minister of Energy Charles Zulu says the K251 million allocated to rural electrification will promote private sector investment in rural areas.
Commenting on the pronouncements made in the 2018 National Budget last Friday, Mr Zulu, who is also Luangeni Member of Parliament, said the increased allocation to rural electrification will help the goal of increasing electricity connectivity by 50 percent by 2030.
The Teaching Service Commission is concerned with the low number of children in rural areas accessing early childhood education.
ZANIS reports that Teaching Service Commission chairperson, Stanley M’hango said early childhood education is not supposed to be a preserve of the rich but that all children should be given an opportunity to access education.
Mr M’hango said it is sad to note that North Western province has as low as 153 teachers against 6,620 learners accessing early childhood education.
13 local community organizations have received grants totaling $175,000 (about K130million) under the U.S. Embassy’s Economic Support Fund-Health and Development Africa Challenge Pilot Program.
The grants are expected to benefit over 35,000 people in the organizations’ area of operations.
US Ambassador, Virginia Palmer said during presentation of the grants that her country was proud to contribute to the improvement of livelihood of rural communities in the country.
Zimbabwean elections since independence have been notoriously violent. The 2008 violence was probably the worst electoral violence since 1980, with voters being punished by the ruling party and its associates after President Robert Mugabe was defeated by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in March 2008.
Although political violence has been less visible since that dark period, sporadic acts and the legacy left by the scourge of violence still affects rural communities. The election season is often accompanied by an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
While urban areas were affected, the tightly-knit communities in the rural areas were more vulnerable. To insure against violence, villagers have to comply with what they believe to be ruling party demands.
The House of Representatives on Thursday asked Federal Government to initiate a policy that would attract teachers to teach in the rural schools and remote locations in Nigeria.
To this end, the House urged House committee on Basic Education and the Ministry of Education to take on policy that would create rural locality allowances and initiate annual retention benefits of 25 percent of annual salary for five years to attract teachers to the rural community.
According to Honourable Omosede Igbinedion, “rural-urban drift of teachers have greatly affected educational development in the rural communities, thereby, affecting the performance of teaching and learning process of a school.”
Mr Julius Awaregya, Coordinator, Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS) said high cost of improved cooking systems was affecting the rural communities as they could not buy them in conformity with new cooking technologies.
He said the current rate of environmental degradation callede for interventions that promoted healthy cooking system and noted that though the Kassena Nankana Municipality and Kassena West District Assemblies provided profiles on clean cooking, moves should be made to mainstream and support clean cooking systems in communities.