GAW/GES PARTNERSHIP, GOOD FOR SCHOOLS
By Anthony Kwaku Amoah
The fortitude to promote quality education and training among students is a matter of partnership. No single person or organisation can claim sole proprietorship of our education system. It is an all-inclusive sector, meaning any concerned citizen or body at all has a stake.
Though it is Ghana Education Service (GES) which is constitutionally mandated to oversee the implementation of all pre-tertiary educational policies and programmes designed by the Ministry of Education, the fact still remains that the Service would find it tough to effectively deliver on its mandate without the support of others.
It is for this reason that education authorities always invite philanthropists, corporate institutions, NGOs and allied bodies to help them resource schools in the country. It will therefore be inapt for anyone to attempt to heap all lapses in the education system solely onto the corridors of GES and government.
The question then goes; for how long can schools continue to battle with lack of trained teachers, classroom blocks, ICT materials and libraries?
Having recognised the key role the school plays in child upbringing, Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) finds it prudent to also join in the fight against some mishaps facing the school. This group, comprising astute and budding personalities of the creative arts and publishing industry, has lived for the past 55 years. I am also privileged to belong to this noble body.
What makes membership with GAW so lovely is the way its members interact among themselves during meetings, workshops and congresses, irrespective of varied academic and professional experiences, ethnic orientations, income levels, and so on. Discussions are freely held without intimidations or whatsoever.
I am aware the Association has recorded many strides. But my spotlight now is on the recent Memorandum of Understanding it signed with GES christened, “GAW-School Project”. It is expected that by next academic year, GAW will start forming literary clubs in the over 500 public secondary schools in the country.
As a way of rekindling the spirit of reading and writing in students, GAW will soon start resourcing school and some community libraries. Literary competitions shall be organised occasionally where students with superior performance will be awarded.
GAW President Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng disclosed this striking arrangement to members last Saturday at the Association’s 55th Congress in Accra. Present at the function were some renowned academicians, editors and writers, including Prof Akilagpa Sawyer, Prof Kofi Anyidoho, Dr Selbi Ashong-Katai and Alhaji Harruna Attah. The Secretary of the Pan African Writers Association, Prof. Atukwei Okai was the chairman with Prof Kofi Awoonor as guest speaker.
In fact, it is just good to associate with experienced, distinguished personalities. Learning does not only take place in the classroom. Less than a year of joining this assemblage of intellectuals, I can say there has been some growth in my art of reading and writing.
To be able to provide holistic education and training to students, the efforts of all stakeholders are necessary. Since the school is not an island, anyone or organisation with good ideas and programmes is always invited to assist in developing the school.
On this score, I think GAW deserves commendation for its resolve to reach out to schools through literature. This move will hopefully provide some backup to what students receive from teachers.
Meanwhile, there is the need for busy school timetables to be decongested to enable students have some time to participate in the programme. GES must ensure that all schools respect this project and work towards its successful implementation.
Though we have had some laudable initiatives wrinkle due to administrative challenges, it is our prayer that this GAW-School Project will actually stand the test of time for schools to reap its full benefits. The project must succeed in resurrecting the almost withered co-curricular programmes, such as poetry, debate and drama displays which hitherto were prominently featured in our school system. When conducted well, they can serve as ‘breathers’ for students in the current hectic school schedule.
Interested individuals and organisations can liaise with GAW and GES to make this project a reality. Parent-Teacher Associations, School Management Committees and traditional authorities must keenly support this project for it to meet its intended purposes.
Meanwhile, GAW must appreciate that the problems confronting rural schools are more severe than those facing the city ones. For instance, a school like Accra Academy should not be a beneficiary while Ave Senior High School in the Volta Region does not know what goes on.
I would rather propose that if there will be any pilot exercise, it should first be targeted at rural schools since they have been wallowing in acute problems for some time now.
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