General News of Monday, 19 May 2014
The unpopular decision by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to place the entire St. John's Grammar SHS on one prepaid meter is depleting the school's coffers, as it spends Gh¢400 on power for just 12 hours every day.
The school thus spends a total of Gh¢12,400 per month on electricity for six hours during the and six hours during the night because the cost of electricity for the 24 hours is too much to bear.
According to the Headmaster of the School, Mr. Emmanuel Ofoe, this "wrongful show of power and authority by the ECG-Achimota branch", is negatively affecting teaching and learning in the school.
Addressing a durbar to mark the school's 60th Anniversary celebrations Saturday, May 17, 2014, Mr. Ofoe said ECG has refused to comply with an earlier agreement with the school's authorities to give separate meters to the 26 staff bungalows and school blocks.
Connecting the entire onto one meter deprives the school of any tariff subsidies and places it in the same category as commercial consumers, he stated.
Mr. Ofoe fears the school could soon be plunged into total darkness since it cannot continue to pay huge electricity bills, and called on the education authorities to urgently intervene on behalf of the school.
"I am therefore appealing to the GES [Ghana Education Service] and MOE [Ministry of Education] to liaise with the ECG and Ministry of Energy to reconsider the their services to public schools as purely public service and not an avenue to make profit since the public schools are non-profit making organisations," the headmaster noted.
In her address, Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang called for concerted efforts from traditional leaders, municipal and district assemblies as well as stakeholders in the sector "to turn things around to make sure that education is moved to higher heights".
"This is for the good of us all," Prof. Opoku-Agyemang stressed.
She observed that: "too many children are being left behind in terms of quality education outcomes" because, "the playing field is uneven".
Vice Chancellor of the Kwame University of Science and Technology, Prof. Otoo Ellis also called on schools to adopt the use of technology to make teaching and learning easier and more effective.
Prof. Otoo Ellis who is also is a former student of the school noted that the future is linked to technology "and the take off is now".
He said the use of technology can shape students' skills and also help in developing valuable research skills.
St John’s Grammar School was founded on May 16, 1954, by a prominent entrepreneur Mr John Hayford Mensah (also known as Kodwo Wangara), with the assistance of MP and Trade Minister Mr P.K.K. Quaidoo, Nana Essilfie Bondzie, Mr Charles Ocansey and Mr S.M. Arko.
The school, which began with four students, now has a total enrolment of 1,973. Out of this number, 1,057 are males and 916 are females. There are currently 550 boarders made up of 248 females and 302 males. The school has a staff of 117 out of which 78 are teachers and 39 non-teaching staff members.
Influential personalities the school has produced include the Vice Chancellor, KNUST, Prof. Otoo Ellis, Deputy Regional Minister, Greater Accra, Mr Isaac Nii Djangma Vanderpuye, Prof. Alex Dodoo, Associate Professor of Pharmacy, University of Ghana Medical School, Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah, General Overseer of the Royal House Chapel, Dr Mrs Naana Agyeman Mensah, Country Director of the Hunger Project, Mr Joe Fabin, Managing Director of Sollatex and Dr Ben Abdallah, a former minister in the PNDC era.