From Ernest Best Anane
St. Louis Senior High School has observed the 65th Anniversary celebration of its founding, under the theme: “Equipping the girl child for tomorrow’s leadership: giving back to society”, with a call on major stakeholders to help address its infrastructural challenges.
Mrs. Theresa Addae Commeh, Headmistress, expressed concern about the growing challenges facing the school, noting that with a staff strength of over 120, only 30 are resident on campus.
She stated that the school is in need of staff bungalows for its teachers, as they seek to build more dormitories for the students.
According to her, the students are heavily crowded and compacted when they go for their meals each day, a situation which has compelled them to run a shift at meal times, with first years going first to the dining hall, while the second and third years wait till the first years are done.
This, according to her, is grossly affecting academic work, and expressed the fear that a calamity could occur if nothing is done about it.
The school has, therefore, pleaded with Lady Julia Osei Tutu, wife of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to assist the school in that direction.
The Headmistress commended the members of the 1992-year group of the school for their vision of providing the school with a motorised mower, solar panel and painting of the Jubilee Block, as well as co-sponsoring prizes for the award winners.
Dr. Yaw Adutwum, Deputy minister of Education, commended the management, staff and non-teaching staff for their contribution in equipping the girl child for tomorrow’s leadership.
He said the government’s vision is that no child should be denied the opportunity of senior high education by reason of their financial circumstances, hence the Free SHS policy, which also covers technical and vocational education, and which will be rolled out in September this year for all those who qualify to enter the public senior high schools for the 2017/18 academic year.
According to the Deputy Minister, the government is determined to ensure that quality is not compromised as the policy is rolled out.
Dr. Adutwum said the government is collaborating with various partners to implement major programmes and interventions such as the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), expansion of physical infrastructure, free supply of core subject text books to students, and enhancement of teacher education.
He disclosed that the government will continue to put in place pragmatic and necessary interventions that will motivate the teachers and students to work harder.
Dr. Ernest. K.P. Kwarko, a Medical Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) as Guest Speaker, observed that one of the best leadership interventions for young adults was the provision of quality education at the second cycle level, and commended the government’s resolve to roll out its Free SHS programme from September this year.
He expressed the hope that the Ministry of Education would consider its decision to make the feeding department of the Free SHS programme wholly government-dependent.
He said there was enough statistically significant evidence to support a direct Dose-Response correlation between Free-Feeding and Physical/Intellectual Development at the Early Childhood and Primary levels of education.
And endorsed same for the Junior High School level, but perhaps, a cost-sharing approach to feeding at the inception stage of the Free SHS could free a lot of financial resources, which can be used to argument existing SHS infrastructure and build new ones as well.
Dr, Kwarko recommended that the Ministry of Education should make Basic Entrepreneurship an integral part of the Free SHS curriculum.
This, he observed, would help gradually re-orient the leadership mentality of the SHS student towards self-employment, and reduce the dependency mentality on government jobs.