Sunday, May 13, 2012

Analyse achievements devoid of political colour - NAGRAT

THE National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has called on Ghanaians to make fair assessments of the economic situation in the country devoid of all political colours. “The situation where every issue bordering on the economy is twisted to show that one person or institution is doing perfectly well or that another person or institution has done everything wrong does not augur well for the nation and must be condemned.” It is important that the situation of the cedi is arrested but this cannot be achieved by accusations, counter accusations and defensive mechanisms,” it said in a communique issued at the end of the its National Executive Committee meeting of the National Association of Graduates at its National Secretariat in Accra. The communique, which was signed by the General Secretary of NAGRAT, Mr Stanislaus P. Nabome, said the association was deeply worried about the partisan approach used in dealing with economic issues, notably the depreciation of the cedi against other currencies. “NAGRAT calls for a non-partisan approach in dealing with the issue, possibly in consultation with economic think-tanks and faculties to improve upon the living conditions of Ghanaians.” On the forthcoming elections, NAGRAT said its National Executive Committee took note of the tension that characterised the biometric voters registration exercise. The communique said the committee took cognisance of the fact that a lot of their members were on the ground as registration officials and called on all political parties and their supporters to halt the intolerant approach to political exercises. “The peace and security of the nation is more important than anything else and cannot be sacrificed on the altar of political bigotry for anybody or party. NAGRAT, therefore, calls on all stakeholders to ensure that peace prevails in the country before, during and after elections,” it said. The association said those were issues of great national relevance and needed not be trivialised within the country’s social and political circles. NAGRAT noted that the nation thrived on quality education and quality education could only be guaranteed in a peaceful environment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aburi Girls SHS makes significant progress

THE Aburi Girls’ Senior High School (ABUGISS) has undergone significant transformation over the past nine years as a result of the passion, devotion and visionary leadership of the current Headmistress, Mrs Sylvia Asempa.
In the past, the school was faced with acute water problem, making it routine for parents and guardians to transport water to their children and wards in the school.
It was also confronted with inadequate infrastructure, such as accommodation facilities for teachers and students.
Today, a visit to the school shows that the acute water problem which bedevilled the school in the past has been resolved. Now there is a 24-hour flow of water in every part of the school following the construction of boreholes, artesian wells and the provision of other water facilities, including polytanks.
Presently, there are pipes linking the various dormitories, the science laboratories, staff bungalows, the kitchens and the dining halls, leading to uninterrupted flow of water. In addition to this, the roofs of most of the buildings have eaves gutters which are connected to reservoirs and polytanks.
In addition, the school has built a sachet water production plant, the first of its kind in a senior high school in the country. With the facility, which is funded by the parent-teacher-association (PTA), a student is given a bag of the sachet water a week at a cost of GH¢8 per term.
Furthermore, the school has constructed 23 teachers’ bungalows to add to the 31 already there.
According to Mrs Asempa, "Only eight teachers live outside the school."
On Saturday, May 29, 2010, the school, with the motto: Bepow So Hann, will mark its 64th speech and prize-giving day. During the event, a refurbished Chemistry laboratory, estimated at GH¢32,000, and a two-bedroom flat will be inaugurated.
"Every year, we inaugurate two projects through the support of the old students, the PTA, companies and well wishers. The list of their contributions to the school is endless. No sooner has one project been inaugurated than another springs up," the headmistress said, and commended all those who had supported in diverse ways to improve facilities in the school.
Narrating her success story to the Daily Graphic, Mrs Asempa said three months after assuming the headship of the school in 2001, she expanded the dining hall, with support from the European Union Micro Project, and built an additional bath house to cater for the students.
She added that when she realised that some students were residing in a hostel outside the school, she decided to cut down admission, to the displeasure of stakeholders, adding that she took the bold decision to ensure that all the students would have accommodation on the compound, since staying in a hostel outside the school led to truancy and indiscipline.
After renovating and expanding the five existing dormitories, a sixth dormitory, which has been named after Mrs Asempa, was built.
Mrs Asempa, nicknamed ‘Sylvia Is Coming (SIC)’ or ‘Ofie Wura’ by the students, said majority of the projects were executed during the long vacation.
She said all single lane walkways had been expanded, while new ones had been constructed.
On discipline, Mrs Asempa, who is due for retirement on December 27, 2010, said, "Our approach to discipline is continual," explaining that "it is a holistic system that ensures the total development of our girls so they can reap the full benefits of self-respect, self-dignity and confidence, not only for themselves but also their school and the nation".
On academic performance, she said the school had recorded good performance over the years, adding that last year eight girls obtained grade A in seven subjects, while one girl scored grade A in eight subjects. All 460 students passed in all the subjects, showing a pass rate of 100 per cent, while it was 99.5 per cent in 2008.
"This headmistress has been an extraordinary individual in the annals of this school. She took office when the whole society looked on with trepidation at the alarming challenges that confronted the school.
"She has worked undauntedly with extreme passion and devotion and has succeeded in turning the fortunes of the school around. She has scored a feat that is the talk of the whole nation. She has salvaged this national asset for the benefit of posterity," a letter signed by the PTA Chairman, Prof L. Enu Kwesi, and the PTA Secretary, Mr A.A. Owusu, said.
ABUGISS has a student population of 1,420 and runs programmes in Science, Arts, Business, Home Economics and Visual Arts.

‘Give due recognition to City and Guilds holders’

THE West Africa Representative of City and Guilds International, Mr Kingsley Koranteng Aseidu, has called for the proper recognition and placement of holders of City and Guilds certificates in the country.
“We are faced with the challenges of recognition from employers and some educational institutions. The sad aspect is that, some employers discriminate against technical/vocational graduates when it comes to job placement and salary,” he said.
Addressing the press in Accra, Mr Aseidu said although the City and Guilds Advanced Diploma was equated to the Higher National Diploma (HND), some organisations paid the HND holders more than the City and Guilds Diploma holders.
In addition, he said, although City and Guilds trained people to become professionals with internationally recognised certification, the “Nurses and Midwives Council is twisting these efforts by preventing government hospitals from employing these graduates”, and called for the immediate intervention by the Ministry of Health.
He said the health care professionals were not nurses or competing with nurses, but provided auxiliary health care services to support nurses and doctors to provide better services.
Mr Aseidu, stressed the need for due recognition of City and Guilds holders and for proper attention to be paid to technical and vocational education.
Mr Aseidu said City and Guilds was one of the world’s leading vocational and technical awarding bodies.
Founded in the City of London in 1878, he said, the examination body now qualified 1.8 million learners in 80 countries every year, adding that City and Guilds offered qualifications in almost all levels of industry.
He said City and Guilds had been operating in Ghana and West Africa for the past 55 years, and that “indeed, it was the only vocational/technical awarding body in Ghana before the localisation of some of their awards by the Ghana Education Service (GES) Technical Vocational Education Division in 1984/1985”.
Mr Aseidu said City and Guilds operated through schools, colleges, training providers and employers, and that such institutions were referred to as approved centres which were given unique numbers once they had been approved to deliver training based on City and Guilds syllabus which were based on the international job market.
“We have over 65 approved centres including employers, training providers who enter their trainees for our examinations every year. Some of the awards include oil and gas, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, telecommunication engineering, hairdressing, health care, information technology, hospitality and catering,” he said
Mr Aseidu said City and Guilds had seven levels starting from certificate, diploma and advanced diploma, graduateship, among others, and that those certificates were recognised worldwide for further education and for employment.
In some cases, he said, holders of the advanced diploma were allowed to do one or two years top up degree programmes.
He said City and Guilds was recognised by the GES and the National Accreditation Board (NAB) which normally “verify our certificates and establish the equivalent levels with the local awards”.
Mr Aseidu deplored the way and manner technical education was being handled, and suggested that a technical/vocational levy be set up to support the delivery of technical/vocational education.

Power struggle in AASU

A POWER struggle has emerged in the All-Africa Students Union (AASU) threatening the removal of the union’s secretariat from Ghana.
Sources have indicated to the Daily Graphic that Libya, Nigeria and a third country have initiated moves to host the secretariat of the union, which has been in Ghana since 1972.
Currently, one group led by Abdul Karim Hakib, who says he is the acting General Secretary, operates from the AASU Secretariat while another group led by Mr Oludare Ogunlana, who says he is the substantive General Secretary, operates from outside the secretariat.
Mr Hakib told the Daily Graphic that he was made acting General Secretary following the passage of a resolution at a summit in September 2009 due to the long stay in office of Mr Ogunlana.
However, Mr Ogunlana said Mr Hakib’s current position was illegal and unconstitutional, and that he (Ogunlana) was still the substantive Secretary General as he was elected at the union’s congress in 2000, adding that since “2000 there has not been any congress to elect anyone to the position”.
“A resolution passed at a summit in September 2009 says that Ogunlana should no longer be the Secretary General because he has overstayed in office. That is how come I was made the acting Secretary General,” Mr Hakib said, and added that of the five people that were elected in 2000 only Ogunlana was still in office.
He said the AASU held elections every four years, but since Mr Ogunlana took over as General Secretary in 2000, he had not organised any election, and indicated that the planned congress slated for Nigeria in August this year under the leadership of Ogunlana was not recognised by the AASU members.
Mr Hakib, who said he was the substantive Deputy General Secretary, explained that there was no problem with the AASU and that everything was going on smoothly.
“We are not in any crisis as anybody would think,” he emphasised, indicating that the AASU went about its activities legally or “else the government and the African Union would not recognise us”.
He denied that he led people to invade the AASU secretariat to get Mr Ogunlana out.
For his part, Mr Ogunlana said he had been in power since 2000 because there had not been funds to hold elections.
He said he had, therefore, written to the Prof. John Evans Atta Mills to intervene to solve the problem at the AASU secretariat, since efforts to get the matter resolved had not been successful.
“Sir, it is very sad to note that up till date, no concrete measure has been taken to have this issue resolved. At present, as the Secretary General, I cannot access or operate from the office provided for the AASU by the Ghana Government because this group led by the former NUGS representative are still illegally occupying the secretariat and have refused me entry,” the letter to President Mills said.
It explained that the challenges of the AASU since 2004 had been the inability of the union to hold the congress due to financial constraints and lack of sponsors, adding that “this has kept all the elected organisations/countries since 2000 in Libya in office till date”.
The letter said while other elected organisations left the AASU secretariat due to financial difficulties, Nigeria had encouraged her representatives not to abandon the secretariat until the 10th congress in Abuja between August 23 and 28, 2010.
It noted that in the midst of the crisis the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, had offered to host and support the 10th AASU congress.
It said AASU appreciated in no little measure the support of the Ghana Government towards sustaining the union in the country since 1972, and that “we would not want the secretariat to be moved from Ghana to another country”.
In July, 1972, African students met at the University of Science and Technology (UST) [now KNUST] in Ghana to discuss the issue of bringing together all the students on the continent in order to co-ordinate their efforts towards the socio-economic and political advancement of their continent.
That historic meeting laid the foundation for the establishment of the All Africa Students Union (AASU), a non-governmental international students union.
Subsequently, a larger meeting was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1973 to concretise the outcome of the Kumasi and Dar es Salaam meetings as the first two congresses of the AASU.
The third congress was convened in Alexandria, Egypt in 1974 while the fourth was held in Accra, Ghana in 1976 with the fifth being held in Libya in 1978. The sixth congress was in Ethiopia, 1982, the seventh in Luanda, Angola in 1987, the eighth in Accra, Ghana in 1992 and the ninth in Tripoli, Libya in 2000.

Accra Girls contributes to human resource needs

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THE Accra Girls Senior High School has for the past 50 years made significant contributions to the production of the requisite human resource needs of the country.
The school was built in 1960 as one of the Ghana Education Trust Schools by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. The girls’ school, which started with 12 students, has both day and boarding students.
Today, Accra Girls, which ranks among the top girls’ schools in the country, has a population of 1,100 students with about 50 teaching staff and 51 non-teaching staff. It has three dormitories which accommodate 720 students, while 20 of its teaching staff live on the campus.
The programmes being offered in the school are: General Arts, Science, Business and Vocational Skills (Home Economics and Visual Arts).
With the provision of five decades of quality education, the school has lined up a number of activities to mark its 50th anniversary which began with a launch in October last year.
The year-long event includes a fun fair, games with sister schools, clean-up exercises at the Dzorwulu Special School and Maamobi Polyclinic, a float through the principal streets of Accra, home-coming for old girls, fun games for staff and old girls, a dinner dance and variety entertainment night, which will be climaxed with a speech day and a thanksgiving service in October this year.
A visit to the school revealed that a number of projects were being undertaken to improve and expand facilities on the compound. They include a two-storey 12-unit classroom block and a new dormitory to accommodate about 400 students and raising of the wall around the school. These facilities, among other things, would cater for the first-year students that would be admitted into Form 1 in September this year.
At the time Daily Graphic paid a visit to the school, workers were busy at the projects site. They are expected to finish work before the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year.
Conducting this reporter round the project facilities, the Headmistress, Ms Veronica Akapame, said both students and staff residential accommodation had been inadequate, adding that some students had to commute from as far as Kasoa and around Dodowa to school every day.
She said steps for the construction of a new dormitory and the renovation of a staff bungalow were being undertaken, and she wished more of those facilities were in place.
On the issue of access to water, she said, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Dr Mustapha Ahmed, had promised to solve the problem.
Ms Akapame said the wall was being raised to ensure adequate security, adding that the wall was so short that people easily scaled it and entered the campus.
Security, she said, had improved greatly with the raising of the wall and the clearing of a grove that used to serve as hideout for intruders, among other things.
On academic performance, Ms Akapame said, the school’s performance had improved over the years with 100 per cent results. She said students who passed through the school qualified for tertiary institution with competitive grades, and that this could be seen in the kinds of professionals the school had churned out over the years.
“Today, we have past students who are doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, entrepreneurs and other professionals who have contributed in diverse ways to the development of the country,” she said.
She said discipline had been another hallmark of the school, and that had also resulted in the positive results of the school.
Ms Akapame commended the old students of the school, Parent-Teacher-Association (PTA) and other organisations for playing various roles to improve facilities on campus, thereby ensuring effective teaching and learning.
She said the school would not rest on its current achievements but do more through the provision of quality education to its students.

Basic schools need more teachers


THE Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) need more than 33,000 teachers to meet shortfalls in basic schools across the country.
Figures collated from nine of the 10 regions indicated that there were 33,185 vacancies, while figures from the Upper West Region are yet to be computed.
In the interim, 8,625 teachers have just passed out of the 38 Colleges of Education. They comprise 6,670 general subject teachers; 777 technical school teachers, 170 French teachers and 1,008 Mathematics/Science teachers who would be posted to schools in October.
According to the guidelines developed by the Ghana Education Service for the postings of newly trained teachers, “the 777 technical, 170 French and 1,008 Maths/Science teachers should be posted to junior high schools to first and foremost teach Technical Skills, French, Maths and Science respectively and any other subjects”.
The remaining 6,670 teachers may be posted to teach at either the junior high school or primary level, depending on the demand for teachers.
“The vacancies far exceed the number graduating. These newly trained teachers should first and foremost be posted to fill actual vacancies in deprived/underserved schools,” the guidelines indicated, adding that “teachers who report late or refuse posting by the end of October should be treated as having vacated post and the GES sanctions for vacation of post should be applied”.
The guidelines said the Integrated Payment Payroll Database (IPPD) Unit should be informed about vacation of post cases in order to suspend the affected teachers’ salary.
It said regional/district directors should report such cases of vacation of post to the GES headquarters by the end of November for the necessary action to be taken.
The guidelines explained further that all non-sponsored teacher trainees should be posted to deprived schools and that declared vacancies in the deprived areas should be filled first before the urban areas.
The service, the guidelines indicated, should work out teacher motivation packages for those posted to the deprived areas, adding that where a district was split into two, the mother district should give priority to the newly created district in the allocation of teachers.
“Newly trained teachers who are posted to deprived areas are often exposed to social hazards. It is, therefore, suggested that as much as practicable they should be posted in pairs to deprived areas,” the guidelines indicated.
The list of newly trained teachers allocated to the regions should be sent to the GES headquarters by June 29, 2010 to ensure the payment of their allowances by the end of September.
The guidelines also indicated that district directors were to wait for all newly recruited teachers’ forms to be assembled before processing and forwarding them to the headquarters.
The guidelines said regional and district directors of education were required to ‘market’ their regions and districts to make them attractive.
“District Directors and headteachers should observe and adhere to the recommendations made on the posting forms by Principals of Training Colleges on newly trained teachers to be able to place them appropriately and suitably for effective teaching to take place,” the guidelines also indicated.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Squatters invade ministries area

THERE has been an upsurge in illegal trading activities within the Ministries area in Accra, where government’s day-to-day transactions are carried out.
The illegal business activities include the sale of cooked food on the streets within the area, tie and dye materials, coconuts, herbal products and fried yams, among others.
Other hawkers also could be seen meandering their way through the various Ministries to sell their items, which include belts, shoes, used clothing, assorted fruits, watches and groundnuts.
A visit to the area showed some workers and visitors patronising cooked food such as rice, kenkey, tea and confectioneries.
While some were seen eating at the food joints, which are on the streets within the Ministries, others were seen carrying away their food items in black plastic bags to their various offices.
Another feature noticed at the area was how the illegal traders engaged in arguments over issues of politics and sports.
Auntie Ama, one of the canteen operators in the area, said although the illegal trading activities were a nuisance, nobody seemed to bring those behind them to order.
“Now anybody can come and sell here and nobody would say anything and the indiscriminate activities do not speak well of the area,” she said.
“Master, the cost of the food at the canteens in the area is high and we can’t afford it. For instance, at our canteen, if you don’t have GH¢2 or GH¢2.50 you can’t eat but at the roadside, with GH¢ 1, you can get food to buy.
“Even our big men send us to buy from these traders and hawkers,” a worker at one of the Ministries, who wants to remain anonymous, told the Daily Graphic, adding that the issue was a major one that needed to be addressed well.
He said although the activities of the hawkers and traders were a bother, they were rendering invaluable services, and stressed the need for their activities to be streamlined so that their activities did not become a nuisance.
Reacting to the situation, the Director of Finance and Administration of the Office of Head of Civil Service, Mr Ohene Okai, said “the indiscriminate sale of various items anywhere in the Ministries is a big challenge to us”.
He recalled the action taken by a former Minister of Public Sector Reforms, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, to clear the area of such illegal activities.
“It is unfortunate that these traders have found their way back,” adding that he was going to call a meeting of directors next week Tuesday, January 26, 2010, to discuss the matter and find a solution to it.
Mr Okai said such a practice should not be allowed to go on, and that eventually a security firm would be contracted to take charge of the Ministries to enforce actions that would be taken against the illegal traders.
“We have given ourselves up to March 31, 2010 to restore the place to its true status,” he said.