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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku

Extending Support To An Alma Mata…

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

Anyone with formal education has an Alma Mata to boast of. It is true not everybody is able and can reach the peak of the educational ladder.
That notwithstanding, many of us have our Alma Mata, which begins from the stage of pre-school up to the university level.
Every stage within the academic ladder is important. One can not genuinely reach university without successfully completing the lower levels (i.e. KG, primary and secondary).
About two and a half decades ago, I interestingly started learning basic etiquettes, such as greetings, hand washing, decent eating habits, bathing and dressing at the KG.
I was also introduced to the tenets of good communication, especially in my mother tongue. Efforts were made to imbibe in us the spirit of courage and self-confidence using poetry recitals at inter-school contests.
At the primary school, we are introduced to reading, writing and arithmetic. We also build on our communication skills without relegating basic skills of life and leadership to the background.
Education is a process and not an event. The skills of reading, writing, numeracy, arithmetic, communication, leadership and general life experience are improved upon at the junior high level.
Most people, until now, did not know that the 1992 Constitution of Ghana says senior high school education must be progressively free and accessible. It is a fact that these days senior high education is hard to come by due to problems of access and finance.
The senior high system, which embraces technical, vocational and agriculture institutes, is undoubtedly the midway of the basic and tertiary systems. It is regarded as the terminal point of one’s formative training and a point liable for picking up uncouth attitudes like drinking and smoking due to some redundant peer influences.
The colleges, polytechnics and universities are professed as institutions of higher learning. Till date, admissions into these institutions are heavily controlled and treated as a privilege.
Financial impediments, most often, emasculate many applicants’ chances of getting to the tertiary level. Infrastructural mishaps also pose problems.
And for those who are privileged to successfully sail through the tertiary are deemed to have strong bargaining chips (i.e. certificates) for the competitive job market. This point, however, is subject to many debates.
This article looks at what a graduate of any level at all can do for his/her Alma Mata. It does not matter whether one has successfully exhausted all the stages of learning and is gainfully employed to be able to give fiscal support or not.
If we had been committed to the development of our schools, by now, issues of poor pupil performance would have been history. We could support schools both in kind and in cash.
These days, the challenges facing the school are for everyone. There is the need for full partnership, involving parents, guardians and individuals to tackle.
The school is not an island but an integral part of the society; hence the urgent call for all to get on board. Issues bordering on academic, co-curricular activities, infrastructure and general school management must be supported by all.
Just recently, through the effort of my humble self and my town youth association resident in Accra, we donated assorted library books to Ave-Havi Basic School (my Alma Mata) in the newly created Akatsi North District of the Volta Region.
Earlier, the Ghana School Project, an NGO I speak for, supplied about eight powerful desktop computers and accessories to the school to support their ICT lessons following an appeal made by a former head teacher to that effect.
Residents of Ave-Havi still appreciate me for having spent one year teaching voluntarily in the junior high school after secondary education when the school had serious teacher deficits.
It has become ideal for stories of this caliber to be told so others can also get engineered to assist their schools. Let’s not stay aloof as schools perish for lack of textbooks, science and ICT equipment and infrastructure.
Funds must be raised to put up classroom blocks and equip them with comfortable tables, chairs and writing materials so that children can stop studying under trees and using their bellies to write on the floor.
PTA/SMC meetings, open days, speech and prize giving days and other encounters with the school must be used judiciously to churn out religious, moral and social education to pupils.