CAN you imagine being unable to read the words on this page? What if you could not speak your country’s official language? Suppose you were not able to point to your homeland on a map of the world? Countless children will grow up in that very situation. What about your child?
Should your child go to school? In many countries, primary and secondary education is compulsory and often free. The Convention on the Rights of the Child considers formal education to be a fundamental right. So does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In some lands, though, schooling may not be free and may be a financial burden on parents. In Ghana we take education very seriously.
People living in poverty may be virtually helpless in certain circumstances. In other cases, however, a reasonable education may help us and our children to avoid needless suffering. Very few illiterate people manage to have more than a precarious existence. Children and even parents sometimes die because a meager income makes it impossible for them to obtain medical help. Malnutrition and poor housing are often the lot of people who have had little or no schooling. Education or at least the ability to read and write may be of some help in these respects.
For these reasons most parents in Ghana send the kids to school to learn. Doubtlessly we have so many schools in Ghana. The concern of parents to send their kids to school is plausible, but one thing is often neglected-children safety to and from school.
I usually sit on a small block opposite the Saint Mary The Virgin Catholics Church close to the Ussher Polyclinic on the Asafoatse Nettey Road. I sit and wait for the bus to bring my boy from school in the afternoon. The church have a school in the premises and a couple of schools around the neighborhood that are closed to the busy Asafoatse Nettey Road. But a look around reveals that there are no road markings to protect these children. No Zebra Crossing!
A zebra crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing used in many places around the world. Its distinguishing feature is that it gives priority to pedestrians; once someone has indicated their intent to cross by waiting by the crossing, motorists are obliged to stop. These were introduced to the UK in the 1930s as a road safety measure and were marked by a pair of striped poles, each supporting a flashing orange light, known as Belisha Beacons. In the 1940s road markings were added to the crossing design: These were alternating dark and light stripes on the road surface. These stripes, resembling the coat of a zebra, give rise to the common.
The striped road marking has been adopted in many countries for their crossings for this purpose; however not all have the pedestrian priority rule, and not all use the term zebra crossing to describe them. But in Ghana we call it zebra crossing.
But unfortunately in our country motorist care less about pedestrian crossing. When someone indicate his intent to cross a road by waiting by the markings, motorist find it hard to stop, and if they did; pedestrian have to run to cross the road.
The few minutes that I sit waiting for my boy is a tiring sight. Schools would have closed by then and both pupils and teachers will leave the school premises. I sit there and watch how teachers look on unconcern when children cross the road to their homes. School kids as young as 3 years run to cross the road. I must admit, the Asafoatse Nettey road is a busy one especially during rush hours and this is a daily occurrence.
On one occasion, from a far sight I saw two kids about 4 and 3 years respectively trying to cross the one- way road home. Sadly vehicles plying the road that time refuse to stop for the kids to cross. It took the intervention of one man to stop the cars and helped the children to cross. And you ask yourself; 'where are the parents'? So their parents could not make provision for an adult to pick these helpless kids from school? What is the point of sending your child to school when he or she could not return. Think about that and be more responsible.
But I still ask: is the zebra crossing just a decoration on our roads?
Content created and supplied by: WesstPatty (via Opera News )
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