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Thu, 10 Jul, 2008

'COME down to Macedonia and help us,' says the Holy Bible. This simple Bible quotation perfectly reflects the humble cry of the Huni Valley Senior High School (SHS) in the newly created Prestea-Huni Valley District in the Western Region as the school is in an environment of daunting challenges. 

The school, a purely community co-educational institution founded about 33 years ago with 25 students, has, grown over the years and now has a student population of 898, made up of 401 boys and 497 girls. There are 476 boarders and 422 day students.

As a community school, it serves many towns and villages in its catchments area, such as Subri, Damang, Nsu, Amuanda, Bompieso, Abosso and Kuremfi.

The existing infrastructural facilities in the institution are not able to accommodate the rapid growth of the school due to the many rural, communities it serves. It lacks enough accommodation for the teaching staff and students, means of transport, access roads and a good source of water supply.

The school has not been provided with a boys' dormitory since its establishment in 1975. As a result, many students have to commute daily between the school and their homes in far away places like Tarkwa, Tamso, Appeasuman, Subri, and Aboso.

The situation adversely affects the academic performance of students because they get tired by commuting. In an attempt to partially mitigate the problem, the school management has converted six classrooms into sleeping places for a few of the male students. As a result of the accommodation problem, many students do not accept admission to the school.

Besides, the school has only a block of eight flats providing accommodation for teachers, which is grossly inadequate.

The block, originally meant to accommodate eight teachers, is currently accommodating 20 teachers and is in a bad state, especially its electrictrical wiring system.

The only means of transport is an 18 year old 23 seater Mercedes Benz mini-bus donated by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

This sad state of the Huni Valley SHS came to light when the Western Regional Minister, Mr. A.E. Amoah, paid a working visit to the school at the weekend to inspect its facilities.

The headmaster of the school, Mr. Thomas Kodjoe Tandoh, who conducted the regional minister round the school, said the capacity of the mini-bus was inadequate for a student population of 898, stressing that its maintenance was a big drain on the coffers of the school. 
He, therefore, appealed to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Secretariat to provide the school with a bigger bus.

Mr. Tandoh said about two years ago, the teachers flats nearly caught fire as a result of the old wiring system, but all efforts to have it rehabilitated, had not yielded any positive result. 
He stressed that with the coming into effect of the 2007 educational reforms, which has increased the duration of SHS from three to four' years, no student would pass out of the school during the 2010/2011 academic year.

That, he explained, meant that there would be no classrooms for the fresh students who would be-admitted that year.

"To avert this situation, we are appealing to stakeholders, especially the mining companies, the GETFund Secretariat, the District Assembly and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, to provide us with a 12-unit classroom block. Without this, we will not be in a position to admit fresh students during the 2010/2011 academic year," he pointed out.

According to Mr. Tandoh, since its establishment, the school had had no properly constructed access road.

"The present access road gets flooded even when it rains a little," he said, adding, "It is a normal sight for visitors seeing the headmaster, the teachers and students holding their footwear and wading through flood waters in order to get to the school compound to carryon with their normal daily activities".

  The headmaster said Goldfields Ghana Limited (Damang Mine) had given part of the road to a contractor for rehabilitation.

He, therefore appealed to the contractor to expedite work on the road, adding that stake holders must also assist with the rehabilitation of the rest of road.

Mr. Tandoh said there were only three functional stand pipes and a borehole serving the student, more than 30 teachers and their families.

He said water to the school is supplied by, the Huni Valley Community Water Board,, but it is unreliable and so appealed for assistance in that direction.

In spite of the myriad of problems, Mr. Tandoh said the school was doing well academically as it scored 100 per cent passes in the 2006 West African Senior School Certificate Examination and recorded 97 per cent passes last year'

He paid glowing tribute to the PTA and Goldfields Ghana (Damang Mine) for helping to improve conditions in the school.

According to the headmaster, the PTA had donated a modern photocopier to the, school, while it was currently putting up a teacher's bungalow.

Goldfields Ghana (Damang Mine), he said, had also donated nine new computers to augment those in the school's computer laboratory, adding that the mining company was currently putting up a modern place of convenience for the female students.

Mr. Amoah said SHS education had been one of the important pillars of the government.

He said Sefwi Wiawso, Shama, Baidoe Bonso and Wassa Amenfi SHS had been provided with new infra structural facilities under the government's model education system.

According to the regional minister, most schools in the region were either being rehabilitated or being provided with new buildings.

Mr. Amoah called on the old students of the Huni Valley SHS to assist in the provision of some of the needed facilities.

He urged the students to stand up to the many challenges by studying hard, since the only way they could pass their examination was through learning, saying, "If you waste your time, you are not going to pass your examination".

The regional minister also urged them to look at their moral life very well, stressing, "If you want to become people of substance, then you must be very careful”.

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