By Bernice Bessey
Four Junior High Schools (JHSs) have been engaged in a competition on how to tackle Ghana’s poor waste management head-on.
To achieve this, a youth-oriented not-for-profit organisation, Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), organised a contest for Junior High School (JHS) students to produce sustainable solutions that address poor waste conditions in their localities.
The contest, titled “FOGET-GNAPS Quiz and Challenge Competition 2018”, is aimed at pushing students to address the question: “Your community has been filth-laden: Device means by which waste can be properly managed to ensure clean environment.”
FOGET, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) Greater Accra Zone ‘5’, and with support of other organisations like Ghana Ohuade Company Limited, Robertkusco Enterprise, AKAKUBI Enterprise and Bluecrest University College, last Friday in Accra drew the curtain down on the programme that has been running for months.
The winner had a trophy, desktop computer, cash, stationary and certificate, 2nd, 3rd & 4th place schools all got cash [in different ranges], printer, stationary and certificates.
Some of the powerful messages by the students were, “Let create a Ghana beyond filth” and “though Ghana has gained independence from Britain for 61 years now, yet it is being colonised by another slave master, filth.”
The four schools entered into the ‘Challenge Competition’ after having beaten over 36 schools, all drawn from the GNAPS Greater Accra Zone ‘5’ in a quiz.
Their (schools) presentations were judged by Emmanuel Addai, a communication specialist, who was the Chairman of the panel, Ama Ofori Antwi, Executive Secretary to the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and Ing. Joy Hesse Ankomah, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The schools were judged according to the solutions they were able to provide after three weeks research they conducted in some communities, alongside the touring of some waste management company sites in Accra.
According to the judges, most of the schools generalised their findings and solutions, hence failed to tackle the question properly for the research outcomes to community specific.
Nevertheless, they congratulated the students for putting themselves up to be tested, in order to contribute their quote to national development, even at these young stages of their lives.
They lauded FOGET and GNAPS for the initiative to raise and ignite the spirit of patriotism in the youth, so as to make them responsible for their environment.
The outgoing Metro Education Director of Accra, Mr. Eugene Yeboah, who was present to grace the occasion, charged teachers to live up to their mandates, since one of the concerns raised by the judges was that the teachers failed to give their students proper support and guidance to conduct the research.
He said it is mandated on teachers to follow strict instructions to guide and instruct their students in achieving the goals and purpose of a given task.
He, therefore, encouraged them to look for help if the need be to effectively teach a subject or direct students.
He also congratulated the students for putting out their best in attempt to provide solutions to the poor waste management that had become shackles weighing the country down.
The contest, he said has helped the students work and learn together as team, saying, “This project has compelled you to read from many sources while you were conducting your research. It is said that a reader today is a leader tomorrow. Please don’t stop, continue to read more.”
He promised to champion the programme in Denkyere East in the Central Region, where he has been appointed the new Municipal Education Director.
Prosper Dan Afetsi, President and Founder of FOGET, said the aim of the ‘Challenge’ was to help students apply the knowledge they had acquired in the classroom to solve real-life problems, especially those facing their respective communities.
Mr. Afetsi was convinced that major development problems facing the country were a result of students’ inability to connect academic to real-time challenges. To him, many times, Ghana has to fall on foreign expertise to solve problems that can easily be taken care of by Ghanaians.
Since civil societies have roles to play in development, he strongly believed that nurturing ‘the can-do spirit in the Ghanaian,’ would be achieved by providing them opportunities and responsibilities to help them to explore.
He added that FOGET-GNAPS Quiz and Challenge Competition is one of such programmes tailored towards putting the youth to the task, adding, “though the curtain on the quiz and challenge has been drawn down, we still have clubs that are still running in the various schools.”