By Charles Neequaye
It is often said that unsung heroes are never noticed or praised for their hard work, courage or great achievements unless they do something spectacular to catch the eyes of people in authority. They do great things but receive little or no recognition for such feats. Such people make a profound and positive impact on the course of history, yet often they go unnoticed and unrecognized. They demonstrate extraordinary courage, compassion and even sacrifice without ever seeking credit for their actions.
They may be quietly doing marvelous things underground, which may either attract or don’t attract public attention, because most of the time, some of them are not the type who easily raises their chest or boast to attract or catch the eye of people in authority or government.
Such is the personality of a 36-year-old teacher at Lompe, M. A. Primary School, Kwame Mensah, who doubles as the Head Teacher in the remotest part of the Nanumba North District of the Northern Region. This teacher has placed the interest and welfare of his pupils above everything he does and he is doing a yeoman’s job of helping to shape and sharpen their educational skills. Kwame Mensah is reported to be defying all glaring challenges and risks in the rural community to help the children to acquire the necessary basic education. He traverses an incredibly long distance, through an inaccessible road network daily to be in school on time, at times on his motorbike. Interestingly, when this means of transport is unavailable, he may have to devise other means of transport to be able to arrive in school on time, in order not to miss his classes.
After traveling for nine kilometers on a motorbike offered to him by a good Samaritan, he would have to remove his clothing and swim across the River Dakar in the district and then continue another three additional kilometers before getting to the school. These challenges, coupled with poor infrastructure and lack of furniture and textbooks, make things even more difficult for him, but that does not deter him from rendering humanitarian services to the community where he teaches. His acquaintance with Rural schools began when he completed college in 2009. He had since moved from one school to another, admitting that teaching at Lompe is frustrating and dangerous.
To him, teaching in rural communities is not an easy task, especially as he had to swim across the river every day to get to his school. He said, even though his family is highly worried, his pupils are his topmost concern and priority and they would be disadvantaged, because he handled all the classes from basic one to six and that he noted is stressful.
Education watchers have maintained that there is an uneven distribution of resources between the urban and rural areas and for that matter, the schools and the ultimate outcomes require a review. Executive Director of Africa Education Watch Ghana, AEWG Kofi Asare, has been doing a lot.
A survey conducted by AEWG revealed that more than 42,000 teachers left the profession in 2021. Data from Social Education Research also indicate that at least 10,000 teachers leave the classroom every year to seek other job opportunities. This situation continues to impact negatively on the teacher and the learner, especially in rural communities. The plight of this compassionate teacher who has defied all odds in the rural areas to sacrifice for a good cause of helping to mold the future of these little ones needs to be recognized by the authorities, especially the Government and to reward him accordingly.
This man by all intent and purposes, deserves state recognition, in view of the fact that his very life is at stake, journey to school through swimming daily, which has a lot of implications for his life. This is the sort of person who deserves an award and not those who ply their teaching trade in the urban cities and towns. It is so unfortunate that the Ghana Education Service has not spotted this selfless and hard work of this teacher when it comes to rewarding teachers who have distinguished themselves creditably in their annual Teachers” Day Award schemes. There are so many unsung heroes in the remotest part of the country, who remain unnoticed because there is nobody to sing their song or to bring their situation to the limelight.
The Ghana Education Service must lead the way to single out these hardworking and selfless teachers for them to be rewarded accordingly. Ghanaians should congratulate this devoted and compassionate teacher for his selfless, meritorious and humanitarian services to mother Ghana.
Ayekoo teacher Kwame Mensah, you are really a role model to your compatriots!