The recent down trend of education among students, particularly, those in the Junior High schools (JHS) on the Akuapem Ridge, which was once considered a center for quality education, is a major source of worry to all and sundry in the area. One person, who has made education his biggest priority, in order to apply the brakes to the situation, is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere Constituency, Mr. Dan Kweku Botwe. To say goodbye to unfriendly dwindling and poor performances during the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), the MP has decided to organise vacation camps every year for prospective BECE candidates in the area. The camp, which started last year with a total student population of 370, selected from some deprived JHS in the constituency, was to teach the students techniques in answering questions, as well as prepare them mentally and physically for the exams. However, it was discovered that the students, who were relatively below average, but had opportunity to attend the camp, performed excellently during last year’s BECE. This development therefore, informed the organisers of the camp to spread their net wide, in order to bring more students on board, thereby having 612, made up of 206 females and 406 males from the 28 JHS in the area, attending this year’s camp. Addressing the beneficiary students, and a cross-section of chiefs and people of the area at short but impressive closing ceremony of a week-long programme, which took place Adumkrom Secondary and Technical School, the Coordinator for the programme, Mr. Anim Addo, described the camp as success and worthy. In attendance were the District Director of Education Mr. Ernest Sowah, Mr. Sam Amoah, a Member of the Council of the University of Ghana, the 2008 Convention People’s Party (CPP) parliamentary candidate for the area, Madam Susuan Apau, and the traditional authorities. Giving a brief background of the programme, he averred that his office had earlier organised a two-day workshop for heads of all the 28 JHS, and some teachers in the area, in order to have their input to the programme. According to the Coordinator, subjects such as Mathematics, Integrated Science, English, Social studies and Information Communication Technology (ICT) were treated during the camp, after thorough consultation with the heads and teachers of the various schools. Apart from ICT, which is taught for two hours, the rest of the subjects have one hour each day. Without shrouding some of challenges such as indiscipline among some of the students and funds, Mr. Addo said the camp was impressive, and urged the traditional authorities and all well-meaning Ghanaians to support the MP. About GH¢12,000, made up of funds from the MP’s Common Fund, families, individuals and other organisations, was spent during the one-week vacation camp. A Council Member of the University of Ghana, Mr. Sam Amoah, expressing his gratitude for the bold step taken by the MP to halt the downward trend of education in the area, tasked the beneficiary students to reciprocate the kind gesture of the MP, by passing convincingly in the upcoming BECE. He also disclosed that he would sponsor four students, made up of two girls and two boys, who would qualify, to any tertiary education in the country. The District Director of Education (DDE), Mr. Ernest Sowah, who for a moment turned into a prophet, prayed for the MP, and prophesised that Dan Botwe’s selflessness, sense of belongingness and thoughtfulness about mankind would make him a president in the near future. He described the fight to bring back the educational glory associated with the people on the ridge, as the emancipation of the youth through education, and called on residents to join hands with the MP to bring that mission to fruition. On his part, Dan Botwe assured the residents, particularly, students of the area, of his continued support in subsequent vacation camps as far as he remains MP for the area. Mr. Botwe gave the assurance that he would commit a chunk of his share of the MPs District Assemblies’ Common Fund into educational development, especially at the basic and secondary levels.
Source: The Chronicle