A Class Four (now Basic Four) teacher (now facilitator) at the Kaasa Basic School in Siniesi in the Builsa North District of the Upper East Region, Freeman Gebute, has creatively modelled some tourist sites to help his pupils who are unable to afford an educational trip better imagine the heritage sites.
Freeman said he was compelled by circumstances beyond his control to come up with such an innovative teaching method to help the pupils have a sense of the tourist sites even without the privilege of visiting them.
This, according to him, was during a History class, one of the subjects in the new curriculum for basic schools. He beautifully modelled the iconic Larabanga Mosque and the Jamestown Lighthouse. He hinted in a Facebook post that models of the Flagstaff House and the Osu Castle are in the offing.
“We used to contribute money to take the pupils to some of these tourist sites, but now things have changed, you can’t take money from the pupils and take them to places where you think they need to go and learn. So it is the funding, how to take over 20 pupils from this place to Larabanga and back is the problem”, he said.
Considering that where the school is located in a rural area, with most of the population living below the poverty line, he doubts the pupils or their parents can even afford the cost that may be involved.
According to him, checks from some commercial transport operators in the District Capital, Sandema, revealed that approximately 150gh per head would be enough to take the pupils to Larabanga in the Gonja West District and back. His class has 37 pupils and if all of them would go for the trip, it will cost them some GHȻ5,500, an amount neither he nor his pupils can afford.
Google maps show that the distance between Sandema, the Builsa North District capital and Damongo, the Savannah Regional capital where the Larabanga Mosque is located is about 260 km with a travel time estimated at 4hrs 30mins.
Freeman also fears that perhaps some parents may not even allow their kids to go on the trip. But he is convinced that it could be a lifetime experience if some of the pupils are able to visit these sites they only see in books.
He says he will do his best to make sure the pupils get the best even within the challenges they face. Freeman believes that his pupils can grow to rub shoulders with others anywhere around the country and also be counted among the best.
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Freeman tells 3news.com he has modelled a lot of things which he uses to demonstrate a thing or two to his pupils. For him, it is a combination of passion and a desire to impart knowledge and skills to his pupils who are not privileged. He says he is always willing to go all out for them.
Freeman studied Visual Arts in Senior High School where he acquired knowledge and skill in arts. As a trained teacher who studied the ‘General Programme’ at the Teachers’ Training College, Freeman is hoping to get a study leave opportunity hopefully next year to further his education. He wants to pursue either Graphic Design or Art Education at the university. While he is looking for that opportunity to better himself, he says, until such a time, his major concern is to help his pupils get better each passing day.
About Larabanga Mosque
The Larabanga Mosque is the oldest mosque in the country and one of the oldest in West Africa, and has been referred to as the “Mecca of West Africa”. It is a mosque built in the Sudanese architectural style in the village of Larabanga in the Gonja West Municipality. It has undergone restoration several times since it was founded in 1421. The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has contributed substantially to its restoration and lists it as one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites.
By P.D Wedam