Reshuffled Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, has described his removal from the region as an elevation to a “powerhouse” where there is access to more keys for him to unlock more doors of opportunities for the region than he has done over the past 18 months.
“As I’m going there, that is the powerhouse. That is where I can work harder for this region because I am now at the centre, in charge of special duties,” he said.
He was speaking Friday, his first time in public since the news of Thursday’s reshuffle broke nationwide, to heads of second-cycle institutions in the region in a meeting held at the conference hall of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council. The meeting formed part of the region’s crucial preparations for the next academic year.
“Let us rise above the smallness of jealousy, backbiting and pull-him-down syndrome. As for politics, it will come and go; but our relationship will be there. When you are with the truth, you are with God. But when you are telling lies, you are with the devil, which I would not like. When you are doing something with the truth, you are with God; nothing would happen to you. But when you are not doing the right thing, you would fear your own shadow,” he noted.
He further made some promises, to which his aroused audience responded with applause, that: “I will lobby for certain things for this region. Look at our region. Empty. No doctors. Why? No doctors. They are not there. If you go to the villages, it’s terrible. What do we do? We have to brighten the corner. And I will tell you today, anybody who has a problem, take my number, I will do it for you. If you are in Accra and you have any problem and you need my support, I’m there for you”.
Keep Politics out of School and School out of Politics— Regional Minister urges Heads
The Regional Minister, who started out in 1964 as a teacher himself, always appears to feel at home whenever he has to address a gathering of educators.
He called Friday’s meeting a family affair, continually encouraging his guests to feel free to air their concerns as individual schools. With a punch that seemed to be rooted in his decades of experience in the classroom, he urged the school heads to keep politics out of school and school out of politics.
“Pl-e-e-ease,” he stressed. “Politics should not play in your school. You must be a team player in your school. Don’t form syndicates. You have been given an opportunity to serve children, why do you go and play politics? All these things should stop. Have a clean heart, a clear conscience, know what you are doing as a head.”
He added: “Get teachers who are prepared to teach. Make sure that teachers you are bringing in are really ready to work, not those who are looking for job. Some people are looking for jobs to come to school and be playing about. Don’t allow them there. Don’t accept it. Make sure that your teachers are people who have the love for the job, not those who are looking for job because they want to work, they want to get money. They are not prepared to teach; it won’t help us; it won’t help us in any way. Let our children not suffer in this region. Do your best.”
Nothing Technical about our Technical Schools— Heads
A number of concerns came up strongly in the meeting— ranging from stalled school projects, dormitory overcrowding, gross indiscipline fuelled by a policy not to dismiss unruly students as well as failure to hand over completed projects at some schools to boarding students taking their meals under trees for lack of dining halls among other drawbacks in many places.
“In respect to the senior high technical schools, my issue has to do with the technical component. I have over the past five years lost students who have gained admission into my school and have left in disappointment. Because of the word ‘technical’, they’ve arrived but to them, by their estimation, they haven’t seen anything technical about my school.
“The only elective thing that we do, for which we are technical, is the Building and Construction, which is only theory and, then, Woodwork and Joinery. It is the only thing that they do. And the Technical Drawing. That one runs through. And, so, they have left in disappointment. So, my appeal, if it is possible for us to fight for the retooling of technical schools and vocational schools to be extended to us to make our schools truly secondary technical,” pleaded the Headmistress of the Gowrie Senior High Technical School, Margaret Akparibo.
Responding to the issues raised, the Regional Minister assured the Upper East Regional Director of Education, Patricia Ayiko, who led the school heads to the meeting, he would liaise with the appropriate authorities at the Central Government level to help address them as urgently as they could.
“It’s very serious. I know the new Regional Minister coming (Paulina Tangoba Abayage) is also hardworking. I’ll give her the hint to continue where I leave off so when she gets to Accra, things will start dropping for the Upper East region,” added Mr. Bukari.