Education think tank, Africa Education Watch (EduWatch) has called on the government to as a matter of necessity, make life jackets available to all schools in districts with water transportation.

Making the demands, EduWatch said life jackets must be made available for anyone having to cross water bodies, especially school children.

The demands come on the back of eight students that drowned when their boat capsized on the Volta Lake on Tuesday, January 24.

The eight students were among twenty pupils who were travelling from Atikagome to Wayokope when the incident occurred midway into the journey.

EduWatch said interactions with educational authorities in the area indicate that it is a daily occurrence for students in the Sene East District of the Bono Region which begs for urgent attention for life jackets to be provided to facilitate safe water travel.

“Our engagement with education officials in the district indicates that, on a regular basis, over a hundred pupils and staff sail to school under unregulated transport systems/conditions. This includes the absence of life jackets in available boats.”

It, therefore, urged “the Ghana Education Service (GES) to facilitate the availability of life jackets to all school children and staff who sail to and from school, not only in the Sene East district but all other island and settler communities where children and staff commute by water transport to school. The GES should in collaboration with the relevant state agencies, facilitate health and safety orientation sessions for all its pupils and staff in island communities.”

EdutWatch also admonished “the Minister of Education to work closely with the Sene East District Assembly and other local authorities in districts with island communities to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards at all water transport routes across the country, specifically, in the Sene East area where this unfortunate incident occurred.”

“In the medium term, the Ministry of Education must provide schools with decent teacher accommodation and financial incentives (for teachers) in island and settler communities, including Wayokope, where this unfortunate incident occurred. This will prevent pupils and teachers from sailing through endangered means to school in other communities daily,” EduWatch further stressed.

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