The Director-General (DG) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Mr Kwasi Opoku-Amankwah, has presented 150 dual desks and some learning materials to the Ashongman Presby Basic School at Old Ashongman in the Ga East Municipality. The day also marked his birthday.
The gesture, according to the GES boss, stemmed out of his passion for education and personal goal towards facilitating access to quality education at the basic level and support to raise future leaders for the nation.
"If I indicate that education is passionate to me, it will be an understatement. You cannot be a professor if education is not passionate to you. But the passion should not only show in the work you do but the passion should show how you can bring up other people who in the next generations of few years take over", Prof. Opoku-Amankwah stated.
"These children are the ones that as we age or grow towards pension, they are the nurses, Teachers, lawyers that we dream of. It is important that we lay a good foundation for them. Once we do that, we can retire and go home and rest peacefully", he further stated.
He commended the President Akufo-Addo-led government for the great transformation he has brought into the educational sector of the economy noting that "the government, as we all know, has taken education as a flagship programme and there are a lot of things going on".
As part of the package, which included the initial delivery of 150 dual desks, and 50 more by Friday, to make it 200, the GES Director-General also presented exercise books, pens, pencils for all the 1,886 pupils in the school.
He explained his selection of AshongmanPresby Basic Schools as one of the beneficiaries of his personal charity which has seen him distribute similar items to other schools in the Greater Accra Region and why was presented on his birthday with the school children.
"I was here about two years ago and the occasion was to do a documentary on the needs for students to go to school at the right age. So it was the right age of enrollment that brought us here. While I walked around, I realised that there was a couple of classrooms that did not have furniture. So I spoke to the Heads at that time and I indicated that I will support them personally and then subsequently I will also arrange for others to support them", he explained.
"However, at the time we wanted to bring the support, COVID came in, that was around this time (last year). Because of my tight schedule, I decided that for any of these activities, it will be rightful to tie it to my birthday which is a special day, which will give me the opportunity to remember that, I have made a pledge somewhere", Prof. Opoku-Amankwah added.
He stated that though the furniture were ready last year, he could not present them due to the COVID-19 situation at the time.
"We managed to get the furniture but unfortunately, we did not get to use them. But also we realised this is probably the right time in order to observe the social distancing in the classrooms. So we decided that, we cannot get the furniture sitting down while we are congested in our classrooms and we fixed today to get the furniture. We also solidified a few things for our KG and primary ones, actually this is the first part of the package. The full package includes
The GES Director-General disclosed that his outfit has introduced the teaching of French and Computer in basic schools throughout the country.
"Also as part of our networking we have introduced the teaching of French and the teaching of computer right from basic four. And as the cluster of schools I intend to support, I will ensure that they get the adequate supply of teachers and other resources that can help us teach our French and Computer to ensure that these cluster of schools become something that we can all talk about in the next few years" he remarked.
The Municipal Chief Executive MCE for the Ga East Municipal Assembly GEMA Abokobi, Janet Tulasi Mensah, expressed gratitude to the GES Boss for his wonderful gesture to the school and stated that the chairs had come at the right time.
"It is an honour to witness this day. In fact, we are in the 'abnormal normal' times and so, these chairs are in our midst at the appropriate time. On behalf of the President and you as the representative, we would like to say a big thank you for this initiative which I know it is not only in this Municipality but across board and it takes only the kind heart to do this, we appreciate it very much.
She used the occasion to outline the inadequate furniture situation facing the advancement of education in the Municipality and appealed to the GES Director-General for support.
"The Municipality has a deficit when it comes to furniture. The schools are over-populated and it is overwhelming that we do not want the media to enter our classrooms. As we speak now, we have challenges in about five to six schools with population not less than 114 in a class and this is absurd. So, we are pleading for you to come to the aid of Ga East Municipality when it comes to education", the Hon MCE requested.
The Municipal Director of Education (MD), Ms. Faustina Alimatu Braimah, praised Prof. Opoku-Amankwah for delivering on his promise, following his visit to the Municipality two years ago.
"Today, we are happy we are witnessing this glorious ocassion. True to his words, he has come to make a representation, that is, he has come to redeem his pledge. We are so much happy. Barely a year ago, we were all hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and schools closed down. Probably, that has delayed the ocassion but we thank God that we are here today and we will be able to carry out the activity", she remarked.
She underscored the significance and impact of the gesture by her Boss.
"There are some very important protocols that we need to observe as a result of containing the spread of the disease. Social distancing is very key and as such, furniture that will be used in the classrooms to be able to observe this social distancing is very key. This could not have come at a better time than this, that Prof. is here to give us this furniture. I must say, that today is his special day and we pledge that, we will put the furniture to good use so that the children will benefit from it", Ms. Alimatu Braimah stated.