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In Need of Assistance | Anlo Awomefia SHS Needs Assistance

Thu, 23 Oct, 2008

It is an undeniable fact that quality education constitutes an indispensable requirement in the quest to accelerate socio-economic development of any country. 

This fact has been recognised by successive generations of educational planners and policy makers, which has necessitated that technocrats devote their energies to modify the structure and content of education in Ghana from time to time for it to suit the changing needs of our rapidly growing society. 

It is this underlying principle that underpinned the recent educational reform which, among other things, increased the number of years for secondary education from three to four years with the pre-school component placing emphasis on science, technical and vocational education, among others. 

The moves were geared towards ensuring that the educational system was robust enough to produce the kind of results that would address Ghana's manpower needs towards accelerated socio-economic development.  

While steps are being taken to address the software component of our educational system, there is the need to give special consideration to the "hardware" component. 

The infrastructural needs of the educational system must be given a crucial attention, if efforts to revamp the educational system were to succeed. 

That is to say the role of adequate infrastructure in the provision and delivery of quality education cannot be underestimated, since it serves as the platform on which other segments of the educational system operate. 

The situation is, however, different from the Anlo Awomefia Senior High School (SHS) situated at Anyako in the Keta Municipality in the Volta Region.  

The school started as a private community secondary school in 1987 and was absorbed into the public educational system in 1994 as the eighth government-assisted secondary school in the Keta District. 

The immediate vision of the community in establishing the institution was to provide secondary education for the thousands of the young boys and girls leaving junior high school (JHS) in the area and who, for lack of access to schools outside their immediate neighbourhood, were forced to abandon their education and resort to early marriages, more as a matter of expediency than choice. 

Since its inception 21 years ago, the school has been housed in dilapidated swish buildings put up in 1932 and which were inherited' from the phased-out middle school system. The buildings are more than 76 years old but they have not seen any renovation 

The buildings are in a deplorable state with the walls having developed large cracks over the years, while the plaster has long peeled off. The buildings are standing only as a ticking time bomb. 

Anlo Awomefia SHS, named after the para¬mount chief of the Anlo State, lacks quality or modern school blocks. 

The old swish buildings comprise nine class rooms, two of which are being used as a typing pool and computer laboratory and a staff common room, thereby leaving only seven to accommodate the more than 450 students. 

The problem has resulted in a situation where more than 70 students are squeezed into one classroom with the scene being similar to the overcrowding in Ghanaian prisons. 

As a result of that, it has become increasingly difficult to increase student enrolment and staff quota. 

The problem has also affected tuition in the school, because it has prevented it from getting enough teachers, thereby affecting some subject areas and also limiting courses offered, which eventually limits course options for the students.  

The school is, therefore, left with the option of running just a few programmes excluding Science, Technical, Vocational and Information and Communication Technology (lCT), which constitute the crucial areas of the new educational reforms being implemented by the government. 

A project started in 1996 to provide the facil¬ities for teaching and learning of Science and Vocational Skills in the school has come to a standstill because funds have not been released' to the contractors executing it. 

For this reason, integrated science practical are not taught in the school. Students only know a test tube on paper. Home Economics practical are done using traditional ovens and charcoal pots. 

The school has no assembly hall, so school functions are held under trees and at the mercy of the weather. The shade provided by the trees also serves as a 'staff common room’ since the room allotted for that purpose is too small to contain all the staff. 

Another problem confronting the school is lack of hostel facilities as the school has had to grapple with the problem of finding decent and adequate accommodation for female students. 

For this reason, the school has been relying on rented premises with their peculiar problems. With the recent upsurge in enrolment, the school authorities have realised that the use of rented premises cannot continue. 

The situation has compelled the school to take the bold step of initiating a girls hostel project with its meagre resources. Currently, the project is at the foundation level. 

There are no staff bungalows in the school, so the teachers are forced to live in rented premises in the outlying towns and villages and commute to the school daily, a situation that impacts negatively on the maintenance of discipline. 

The school has no vehicle and this is affecting its recurrent expenditure in terms of traveling and transport for both staff and students to attend social functions such as sports, games, music and cultural festivals, as well as inter-schools quiz and debate competitions. 

The headmaster of the school, Mr. Edwin K. Sosa, has, therefore, made a passionate appeal to well-wishers, public spirited organisations, the government and non-governmental organisations to come to the aid of the institution. 

He stressed that the completion of abandoned projects and the provision of the other needed infrastructure would go a long way to make the school attractive to prospective students and consequently increase enrolment. 

"This will also attract and retain the requisite staff and boost their morale for good delivery, encourage the students to attach seriousness to their academic work and generally enhance the well-being and healthy tone of the school," Mr. Sosa added. 


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