Thursday, March 27, 2014

Who goes for free Senior High School Education?

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Folks, there is some good news from the hinterland. I am happy at the news report saying that hitherto unregarded senior high schools have now performed so creditably as to topple the “traditional” big-shots as far as the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is concerned. Good news to celebrate by all accounts.
Congratulations to the students and authorities of these schools who have turned the table in their favour.
Those of us who attended rural secondary schools in those days (that had no electricity, potable water, means of communication, or other resources) but managed to enter those “traditionally respected” secondary schools see this new development as heart-warming.

It suggests that given the necessary impetus, schools anywhere in the country can spring surprises. That is why no politician should be allowed to do politics with the schools. All this talk of “free” whatever shouldn’t be allowed to dominate public discourse to the disadvantage of anything else that can be done to support the students.
If we allow our politicians to toy with the fate of our students, nothing beneficial will emerge. These politicians are heartless, to say the least.
I remember very well my own days at the Sogakope Secondary School (from September 1972 to June 1979). No electricity (especially as the generator broke down and we had to use lanterns for studies for three years before writing the “O” level). No potable water, even though the Volta River was just about a kilometer or two away from the school’s compound. We had on occasion carried buckets to the riverside to fetch water for use.
Many other privations. Yet, we made it to the so-called prestigious institutions at the 6th Form level. I entered the Apam Secondary School, unarguably the best “Arts” secondary school in Ghana at the time (under the age-old P.A. Owiredu, May he rest in perfect peace).
Many others went the full hog to be what they are today. Proud citizens of Ghana wherever they may be in the world in whatever capacity!!
Secondary school education does it all. It is a solid foundation that must not be toyed with. And there are dedicated teachers and parents of wards who continue to sacrifice for the good of the students.
Some recalcitrant or incorrigible bad nuts in the student population may turn to anti-social activities to disrupt their own education; but the general impression is that given the needed push, Ghanaian schools can do a lot. That is why no one should be allowed to do dry and empty politics with our education system.
Now, to the main issue:
The news is that senior secondary schools in the country least expected to perform well at the WASSCE (for reasons bordering on their location, inadequate facilities, politics, or anything else) have made it to top, disgracing those schools always given the pride of place. No more bragging rights for them on the basis of what has just happened.
And the news report is clear:
“The Mount Carmel Girls’ Senior High School in the Brong-Ahafo Region topped the 2013 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by scoring 100 per cent in the examination.

The school was followed by Wesley Girls’ Senior High in Cape Coast which had 99.60 per cent and the Tepa Senior High School, with 99.55 per cent placed third.

According to the rankings compiled by the Statistics, Research, Information, Management and Public Relations (SRIMPR) Division of the Ministry of Education, all the 56 candidates presented by the Mount Carmel SHS had between A1 and C6, giving the school a 100 per cent score.

However, in the case of the Wesley Girls’ SHS, 741 out of the 744 candidates it presented for the exam had between A1 and C6, thereby scoring 99.60 per cent.

The rankings of the performance of the schools also indicated that the Koforidua Senior High Technical School with 99.39 per cent took the fourth place. Kade Day Senior High Technical School scored 99.34 per cent in fifth place and the St. James Seminary had 99.29 per cent and placed sixth.

The Adisadel College took the seventh place with 99.05 per cent. Maranatha Business SHS took the eighth place with 99.02 per cent while the St Francis Xavier Seminary took the ninth place with 98.99 per cent and the Ghana Lebanon Islamic SHS placed 10th with 98.73 per cent.

In 11th place was St. Augustine’s College (98.69 per cent); Abetifi Presby SHS (98.63 per cent), 12th; Archbishop Porter Girls’ SHS (98.54 per cent), 13th; St Roses SHS (98.48 per cent), 14th; Okomfo Anokye SHS (98.41 per cent), 15th; Islamic Girls’ SHS (98.32 per cent), 16th; Holy Child SHS (98,18 per cent) 17th; St. John’s SHS (97.94 per cent), 18th; Serwaa Kesse Girls’ SHS (97.77 per cent), 19th and Opoku Ware SHS (97.69 per cent), 20th.

Top schools including Mfantsipim School, Aburi Girls’ SHS, Presbyterian Boys’ SHS, Prempeh College, Accra Academy and Achimota School placed 39th, 44th, 52nd, 54th, 59th, and 78th, respectively, out of 716 schools.”
MY COMMENTS
My good friends, there is much to celebrate as far as the accomplishments of these schools are concerned. The government needs to know what has just happened and to ensure that it does what will sustain public confidence in the Ghanaian educational system. 
The whole world knows and appreciates the value of this system of education, and no one should be allowed to do dirty politics with it. The government must do its best to support efforts. By the end of the day, it is the country that stands to reap the windfall.
I shall return…
·         E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com
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