Compiled by Alfred Adams ..
Damang Goldfields Ghana Limited, last Thursday, rekindled the hope and aspirations of public school teachers, when it organised a colorful awards ceremony to acknowledge and appreciate their contributions in its host communities.
Dubbed ‘Goldfields Teachers Award Ceremony’, the programme was aimed at improving quality education in it host communities, encourage best teaching practices in the public schools, and attract the best teaching skills to the host communities.
In all, eleven teachers were awarded for various categories of excellence in the area of teaching, whilst two awards went for Life Time Achievement and Best School of the year. The teachers competed for awards in categories such as Best Teacher Awards, Best Science Teacher, Best English Teacher, and Best Mathematics Teacher.
The rest are Best Technical Skills Teacher, Best Kindergarten Teacher, Best Headteacher, both Primary and Junior High School (JHS) amongst others.
39 teachers, all coming from public schools in the Damang Goldfields catchment area, applied to the awards committee, of which 38 were invited for an interview.
The Awards Committee comprised of three members from the Education Directorate, a representative each from the communities and Damang Goldfields were put in place to assess teachers in the company’s catchment communities for the awards.
29 of the 38 shortlisted teacher-applicants attended the interview. They were interviewed by the committee to test their knowledge in Educational Issues, School Administration, Technical/ Subject Area Competence, Community Involvement and Current Affairs.
28 of the applicants, according to the Committee, made a pass mark of 60% and above, which qualified them for field assessments. On the field assessment, which took five days, the teachers were assessed on Classroom Competence, Regularity and Punctuality, Lessons Notes, and Scheme of Work among others.
Following the completion of the Awards Committee’s work, last Thursday was set aside to recognise the contribution of teachers in the delivery of quality education in Damang Goldfields’ catchment area.
Consequently, the awards ceremony was held, where successful teachers were awarded for their contributions to educational excellence in the area. They received prizes ranging from refrigerators, lap tops, flat screen televisions to certificates. Notes books were also presented to the Best School.
Speaking at the colourful event, the Acting General Manager of Damang Goldfields, Mr. Augustine Wireko-Asubonteng, pointed out that the event was done under the auspices of Abosso Gold Fields, through its Foundation.
He said since the inception of the foundation in 2002, the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation in Damang has spent over 40% of its resources annually towards the promotion of education, adding major educational infrastructure had been invested through the Foundation. School blocks have been constructed in all nine host communities of the Damang Mine.
The Mine, through the Foundation, has also provided thousands of classrooms and teachers’ furniture to schools in the host communities. Beyond scholarships and the provision of educational infrastructure, Mr. Asubonteng observed that the most important vehicle that drives quality education was the teacher.
He added that even though there were other contributory factors such as parents, attitude of students to learning, educational policies, as well as the administration of the school in ensuring the improved performance of students, while teacher-student interaction played a vital role in moulding the future of our young ones.
“For more than a decade, Abosso Gold Fields, through the Foundation, has been paying allowances to teachers of Nana Amoakwa Model School (NAMS) in Damang. Consistently, through the efforts of past and present headmasters and teachers, the school has been churning out a 100% pass rate at the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) every year.
He recounted that in 2013, one of the teachers (Jude Yiffah), who is currently a Headmaster in Bompieso, emerged as the National Best Teacher in Ghana. This year, all the candidates presented by Nana Amoakwa Model School for the BECE did not just pass the exams, but also gained admission into top Senior High Schools in Ghana.
The teachers attribute this sterling performance to the motivation they get from the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation.
The Acting GM told the gathering that this year, the managers and trustees of the Foundation had agreed that, aside the Nana Amoakwa Model School Programme, another motivation package should be extended to teachers of other public basic schools in the host communities.
“This has given rise to the Damang Mine Host Communities Teachers’ Awards programme, for which we are gathered this morning.”