Presec Begoro @ 40
By Isaac Akwetey-Okunor
It is widely accepted that life begins at 40, but the Presbyterian Senior High School, affectionately called PRESEC Begoro, in the Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region, before it achieves 40 years, come September this year, has shown significant improvement in infrastructure, considering how the school was started.
Life and activities of the school took an upsurge last Friday, when the old and current students joined the management and Board of Governors of the school to officially launch its 40th Anniversary celebrations.
The ceremony, worth witnessing, took place at the school premises amidst a cultural display, and drills performed by the school cadet corps among others.
It was under the theme “PRESEC @ 40 – Challenges, Achievements and Prospects.”
PRESEC Begoro, the former school of the writer, was established in 1972, after the then Women’s Training College was phased out and converted into a Secondary School, with only 70 students and six teachers.
The school was, however, placed under the hegemony of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in 1992 to ensure that the proverbial Presbyterian discipline was part of the training of students.
The school, in 1996, was moved from its original location in the Begoro township, to its present site, Koradaso, an area that could be described as a forest, considering the situation that there were only three structures surrounded by thick trees.
Life at the new site was bad for the teachers, students, particularly those from the cities, as problems ranging from water, transportation, accommodation, and security among other things were difficult to handle.
It took the intervention of the Headmaster of the school, Mr. Ebenezer Okoe Charway, and Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the then Chief Executive of the District, and other high-ranking people in the Begoro town to move and make the school a little paradise for the students and teachers, leading to effective teaching and learning.
I still hold fond memories of the challenges and acute difficulties the school went through at the old site in 1990s, at the time the school migrated to its new place.
The school, sometime between the years 1999-2000 could only boast of one bus, donated by the Ghana Education Service – a mini bus that can take about 30 students and a certain “bosheka.”
The students and teachers had to depend on a borehole, from which the students had to queue and fetch about three buckets of water to the pantry, before a student could also fetch one for his bath and other things.
The pantry, by then, was made of some pieces of roofing sheets and a traditional tripod sort of gas cooker.
The situation in the school became like a battle field during the dry season, when it was difficult to get water from the borehole.
The only saviour for both students and management of the school, particularly boarders, was a stream where the students had to walk miles to fetch water to the pantry before going to school.
The students had to compete with animals for water from the stream for drinking and cooking.
Because of its challenges, the school was not attractive for prospective students, particularly those from the cities, hence was obviously not the preferred choice for candidates from the basic schools.
The situation had a direct effect on the performance of students during examinations, since the teachers and students lacked the needed atmosphere to teach and learn.
Enrollment, as at 2002, was just about 300 students with 15 teachers, but with the collective efforts of students, teachers, parents and well-wishers, coupled with a clear sense of commitment, dedication and vision, the school has been transformed into a modest one.
In the face of all these enormous challenges, the school has made significant strides, as enrollment now stands at 2,360, made up of 1,145 boys and 1,215 girls.
Out the number, 1,796 are boarders, while 564 are day students, with 90 graduate teachers and 92 non-teaching staff.
The achievements, however, could not be possible without the corresponding provision of structures and facilities such as classrooms, dormitories, furniture, etc.
One person who stands tall and will be proud of the success the school has chalked is the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
Mr. Ampofo gave his all when he was the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the Fanteakwa Assembly, and Eastern Regional Minister, to improve on the infrastructure deficit of the school.
The former DCE has been described by the Headmaster as a long-standing friend of the school, who is intoxicated with the development of the school.
The contributions of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), in terms of physical infrastructure, leaves much to be appreciated, as the association has constructed about 20 units of classroom dwarf-wall pavilion, administration block, and four-unit semi-detached staff accommodation for housemasters.
The rest are three-unit classroom accommodations for housemistresses, provision of a 50KVA generator, Rhino KIA truck, furniture, and currently paving of the forecourt of the administration block is ongoing.
The school has seen good academic records, as a good number of students who have passed through the four walls of the school have either completed their further studies, or are currently pursuing programmes at the various tertiary institutions.
A few individuals or products of the school include this writer, the current District Chief Executive of Fanteakwa Assembly, the Member of Parliament for Fanteakwa Constituency, and quite a number of them that space would not permit to mention.
The management of the school, led by the evergreen and hardworking Headmaster, has made good use of the little the school has to make it the best in the Fanteakwa District.
They have worked tirelessly in the face of the many challenges to raise the flag of the school.
Mr. Charway has pledged on behalf of the student body to uphold the discipline of the school, which has been the hall mark of every Presbyterian institution.
Irrespective of the strides, Mr. Okoe Charway has called the government and parents to help the school with a 18-unit classroom block to replace some of the already weak pavilions built by the PTA.
He also called for the construction of a 10-unit 2 bedroom staff flat to house ten more teachers on campus to strengthen monitoring and supervision, as well as a 2,500 capacity dining hall complex.
This, the Headmaster contended, if done, would improve upon infrastructure drastically.
He further prayed for the continued support of parents and all stakeholders, to ensure that students, who will pass through the walls of the school, would contribute positively to the development of society.
As it is it would be important for all past students to attend the climax of the celebration come October 23, to contribute their quota towards the development of the school.
The sky is the limit for PRESEC Begoro, and we need to fight ahead to lift the image of the school in discipline and academic work, through hard work and humility.
Long live PRESEC, Long live Ghana!
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