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Feature Article of Saturday, 16 January 2010

Columnist: GNA

NAVASCO: The Shining Star of the North, @ 50

A GNA feature by Caesar Abagali

Navrongo (U/E), Jan. 14, GNA - Navrongo Secondary School popularly called NAVASCO is 50 years old. This shining star of Northern Ghana has made tremendous intellectual; moral; political and academic impact on Ghana.

The impact that NAVASCO has made could be described as phenomenal if viewed against the backdrop that it is located in the most deprived part of the country.

True to the words of the Founder of the State of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah when inaugurating the school - this school should be viewed with keen interest, it would produce a very profound leadership for this country - never has there been a Government in this country that did not have a Minister of State, who traced his or her umbilical cord to NAVASCO.

What is left is the fulfilment of what the most popular Headmaster of NAVASCO, Mr Collins G. McDonald said; "NAVASCO would certainly produce a president for Ghana".

Fifty years has crowded in a formidable track record in the annals of the educational life of this country. NAVASCO has over the years been producing large numbers graduate admissions to University of Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Cape Coast University. A close scrutiny of the records would show that NAVASCO always recorded one of the highest admissions into the then School of Administration and the Faculty of Law. NAVASCO was the first school to establish Agriculture Sixth Form; produce agriculture machinery and to feed students from its own school farm.

NAVASCO also produced people like Issah Y. Y of "What Do you know" fame, and Kofi Mona, who obtained nine ones in the West African School Certificate Examinations, Ordinary Level.

The following sons of NAVASCO need no introduction in the political arena of this country: John Ndebugre; Cletus Avoka; Haruna Iddrisu; Collins Dauda; Ambrose Dery; Abuga Pele and Stephen Sumani Nayina. Others in various fields of endeavour are: Professor David Miller; Professor Kassim Kasanga; Dr Elias Sory; Mr Roy Ayariga, Former Inspector General of Police Peter Nanfuri and Mr Smart Chigabatia of Public Servants Association fame. There is no Ministry, Department or Agency in this country where one cannot find a NABIA.

What makes NAVASCO unique is its folio numbering system modelled for easy identification of students. When old NAVASCANS (NABIAs) meet for the first time what they still ask is "What is your folio?" Those who cannot to produce their folio numbers readily can be described as having passed through NAVASCO but did not go there.

The School's emblem - two cow horns - is a symbol of strength in Northern Tradition. On festive occasions and during funerals war dancers and put on the horns, ready to fight anyone who wants to derail the development, progress and success of the North.

This great Star of the North, like many institutions in this country has suffered from the Ghanaian culture of lack of maintenance. Talk of the dilapidated buildings, overcrowded classrooms, dormitories and dinning hall that do not provide the ambience for serious academic work and thus leading to poor academic performance at the West African Examination Council Examinations in recent years.

Probably the trend of its educational standard of recent time is a wake up call to all NABIAs to put hands on deck in bringing NAVASCO back to its former glory. The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) needs to go to the aid of the School to provide it with modern educational infrastructure.

NAVASCO was selected for upgrading to a model school under the immediate-past administration and it is the hope of this Writer that NABIAs in the present administration would ensure that their alma mater was not short-changed.

The GETFund under the chairmanship of Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, a Former Northern Regional Minister, also pledged to provide the School with a modern information communication technology (ICT) block; a girls dormitory and a three-storied block of classroom, but his tenure at the GETFund was short-lived hence the inability to award those contracts. Mr Patrick Tangonyire, Headmaster and Chairman of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee, told GNA that the School had never seen any form of renovation since its establishment in 1960. No new block has been added to those provided, which makes academic work challenging to both students and teachers. He said the problem of infrastructure compelled the School Management to convert two of the boys' houses to a girls' abode.

He appealed for a girls' dormitory; the expansion of the dining hall; a school library and a block of 10 classrooms to absorb the increasing number of students. He also appealed for a pickup vehicle to facilitate administrative work.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary celebration, one calls on all past students to lend a helping hand towards the development of their alma mater.

They can do this by purchasing the souvenirs and paraphernalia that would be sold without considering their prices.

They should be prepared for example to buy the anniversary cloth at 100 Ghana Cedis without complaining as their contribution to raise funds for the School. Every NABIA should buy the caps; cups; key holders; tee-shirts; bracelets and other things that would be sold. It is suggested that an account should be opened and published in the dailies so that committed persons interested in promoting education would contribute their quota towards the improvement of NAVASCO. A website for the school should be created if one does not exist. On the 50th anniversary, which is slated for October/November 2010 one can only wish NAVASCO a happy anniversary. All hands must be on the deck to uplift NAVASCO to its former glory.

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