Accra Academy celebrated its 87th Anniversary Speech and Prize Giving Day on Saturday 10 March 2018 which focused on quality education in Ghana.
The colourful event hosted past and present Bleoobii and Guests at the Samuel Ofori-Adjei Ceremonial Square, forecourt of the school under the Theme “The Necessity of Quality Education In the 21st Century – Addressing the Challenges”.
The Chairman for the event was the Managing Director of Tullow Oil, Mr. Charlse Darku; the Special Guest of Honour was Professor Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State In-charge of Tertiary Education and the Guest Speaker was Professor Peter Quartey, Head of Economics Department at the University of Ghana.
The event began with the possession of the school choir, inspection of the school’s Cadet Corps by the Board Chairman, Chairman for the occasion, Headmaster, Guest Speaker, and Chairman of the 87 Year Group.
There have been major calls on government and stakeholders to help improve the quality of education in the country.
The Headmaster of the school Rev. William Garr in his report lamented the school’s peculiar situation following the implementation of the free SHS program and called for government’s swift intervention to enhance teaching and learning.
“The total student population currently stands at 2058. This number is made up of 1120 student boarders and 900 day students. The school admitted a total of 687 first-year students at the beginning of this academic year in September, 2017 to begin the free SHS education policy,” he said
“What is of concern to management is the lack of space in our halls of residence to accommodate the increasing number of day students. As a policy, the school is determined not to have the student halls of residence congested. Already several day students have to feed outside the dining hall at lunchtime, a huge challenge school management is still trying to find a solution to.”
“It is also important to note that some lessons in the elective subject area are held outside the classrooms, including under some of our trees. As a matter of urgency, the school will need a new 18 unit classroom block before the next batch of first-year students arrives in September this year, the school is in dire need of classroom furniture. Four of our student halls of residence, built in the early 1960s, are in bad shape and need urgent attention. Although, ICT is an elective subject on our time-table the school’s computer laboratory lacks adequate computers for any good practical class.”
The Guest Speaker, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah in his keynote address said Government will not hesitate to crack the whip on school authorities whose actions undermine the smooth implementation of the Free SHS policy, adding that despite the challenges, the program will be sustained.
“Let me confess how frustrating it is when genuine challenges facing a new policy, are compounded by improvised obstacles that are carefully crafted and choreographed to derail a great national project. I refer here to the diversion of food items for commercialization by school authorities, manipulation of enrolment figures, charging of imaginative fees by principals, delayed in providing critical feedback and many more; these are inexcusable, and cannot be tolerated. They are deliberately manufactured to produce a headline like, Free SHS is a Flop.”
“But let it be known that the free SHS has come to stay and will never be reversed. Attempts to subvert Ghana’s flagship agenda cannot be tolerated, and the whip will be cracked wherever these irregularities are met” he added
The Minister also wants school authorities to stop the practice of transferring teachers for engaging in sexual abuse of students stating that this practice must cease.
He is advocating that such persons be reported to the police for them to be duly sanctioned.
“The several emerging acts of indiscipline now dotting our institutional landscape: the ugly emergence of indecent interaction between teachers and student in high school hardly a week passes without one media headline or the other, on indecent assault by a teacher on a student; sex for grades; or sometimes sex for fees. This is not to talk of several such cases that go unreported for fear of victimization of the poor student, by the predator. The teacher and counsellors whose care parents have confidently left their kids, now abuse, assault, and molest the kids.
“It is high time high schools exposed and mercilessly cracked the whip on such despicable ‘role models.’ More importantly, let school authorities, Parent-Teacher Association and NAGRAT immediately intervene and enforce teachers’ code of conduct, undertake counselling, and mount seminars on sexual harassment in all schools. Furthermore, let high school hand to the police all action that borders on criminality within the walls of the school. The practice of merely transferring rapists to other schools is in itself an administrative malpractice that must be censured.”
The sponsor of the speech and prize giving day was handed over to the ‘88’ year group from the ‘87’. According to the chairman of the 87-year group, a two-unit piggery is under construction.
By: Ann-Shirley Ziwu/citifmonline.com/Ghana