Category Archives: Education

Akufo-Addo reveals source of funding for free SHS

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I believe the most equitable and progressive way of using our revenues is to educate population, President Akufo-Addo says

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was at the 90th anniversary of the Krobo Girls’ Senior High School in the Eastern Region over the weekend, shedding further light on the free education programme.

The president reiterated his government’s resolve to roll out the free SHS policy from the 2017/2018 academic year.

Though the source of funding of the policy was settled by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Thursday, March 2, when he read the 2017 budget statement, it appears part of the proceeds from the country’s oil resources may also be used for the rollout.

This will then support an earlier indication by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo that the Heritage Fund will be used.

Mr Ofori-Atta had stated in the budget statement that government will use annual budget funding amount (ABFA) to fund the free SHS policy.

But speaking at the 90th anniversary of Krobo Girls’ SHS on Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said government will use “the proceeds from our natural resources, as captured in the ‘Asempa Budget’, to help educate the population to drive our economic transformation”.

He explained that: “Instead of the revenues from our mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, I am of the firm belief that the most equitable and progressive way of using these revenues is to educate and empower our population”.

“It is for this reason,” he added, “that my government has indicated that it will fund the cost of Senior High School for all, beginning with the intake of the 2017/2018 academic year.”

The president clarified that free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical education.

He also indicated that teachers will not be left out in the grand scheme to get a majority of the population educated.

“For us to make a success of our education policy, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy. Government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana

Arrested ATL hall student leaders sign GH¢50,000 bail bonds each

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The 22 student leaders of the University of Cape Coast’s Atlantic Hall arrested on Thursday over the recent vandalism on campus have been made to sign bail bonds of GH¢50,000 each.

They were invited by the Central Regional Police Command to bring along parents or guardians as surety.

These were disclosed by the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Oppong, in an interview with’s Thomas Vincent Cann on Friday, March 24.

ASP Irene Oppong said the Command has taken the issue as a criminal case and it is following due process to get to the bottom of it.

Last Friday during the Atlantic Hall Week celebrations, students from University of Ghana’s Commonwealth Hall and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Unity Hall clashed with students of UCC’s Oguaa Hall, leaving three students severely injured from knife stabs.

One of the injured is said to have been paralysed as a result of the injury.

The police arrested leaders of the Atlantic Hall on Thursday.

“They are to help us,” ASP Oppong insisted.

“They should provide information to help us get the main culprits.”

She said security has been beefed up on campus and will be intensified for future events on campus.


Campaign for education of children with disabilities kickoff

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A campaign for the education of children with disabilities has taken off with over 16 schools in Ghana expected to join the global crusade seeking to create awareness about disabled children’s inability to access education.

The move is to draw attention of the global community on the right to education of children with disabilities who are not able or allowed to go to school.

More than 25,000 primary school pupils in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America will participate in the annual international ‘We Ring The Bell’ campaign on March 22.

“There are currently more than 30 per cent children with disabilities who do not go to school in Ghana,” The Executive Director of SWEB Foundation, Mr David N. Botwey said.

Over 16 schools in Ghana would join the campaign on Wednesday on the theme: “Ensure all children with any form of disability have access to appropriate education programme”.

As part of this worldwide campaign, Mr Botwey said, primary school pupils all over the world will make as much noise as possible for one minute in the schoolyards, using bells, drums etc to attract the attention of policy makers and others whose duty is to eliminate barriers that prevent children with disabilities from going to school.

About 560 schools and 100,000 children in the Netherlands, and more than 365 schools and 25,000 children in 23 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will participate in the campaign.

“’We Ring The Bell’ is an initiative by the Dutch Liliane Fund which collaborates with SWEB Foundation in Ghana,” Mr Botwey said.

SWEB Foundation, with this orgganisations, supports children with disabilities in education and other sectors of the economy.

“But much more needs to be done in our country and throughout the world,” he said.

“Schools need to become better reachable and more accessible (literally and figuratively) for children with disabilities.”

“Teachers and teaching materials must meet the needs of these children.” “Everyone should become aware of the fact that education is a fundamental right, also of children with disabilities.”

The Liliane Fund published a report in March which was based on most recent and relevant scientific studies on the theme.

In 2015, the United Nations set a number of Sustainable Development Goals.

These are the world goals that replaced the Millennium Development Goals in 2016.

In these new goals the focus is on those who have not benefited from the Millennium Development Goals, particularly children and adults with disabilities.

Their situation has improved only slightly since 2000. Worldwide, more and more children go to school (89%), but this is not the case for children with disabilities.

In the low- and middle-income countries, hardly 10% of the children with disabilities go to school.

He said: “Also in our country, the participation of these children in education is rather low.”

“It is high time to change this situation , and the louder the call sounds all over the world, the better it will be heard.”

Source GNA

Kintampo disaster: Teacher, student need GHC32,000 for emergency surgery

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Authorities of the Wenchi Methodist Senior High School are raising a total of GHC32,000 to sponsor an emergency spinal surgery for one of its teachers and one student who were among the several others injured in last Sunday’s Kintampo Waterfalls disaster.

The geography teacher is in critical condition at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi where he is receiving treatment. He is likely to paralysed if not operated upon immediately.

Teachers of the school have managed to raise GHC5,000 as seed capital for the surgery.

The teacher needs GHC29,000 while the student requires GHC3,000 to undergo a bone surgery also at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

A late afternoon rainstorm March 19 caused trees atop the famous waterfalls to fall to the ground killing 18 people, mostly students from the Wenchi Methodist Senior High School who were swimming in the water at the moment. One other person died later in a hospital.

A total of 15 students of the school died in the tragic accident which has led to the indefinite closure of the waterfall.

Appeal for funds

The school administration and the Parent Teacher Association of the school led by its chairman, Kwadwo Gyimadu, have consequently appealed to the government and philanthropists to help them raise the amount to enable the teacher and the student undergo the surgery.He said three other students who are receiving treatment at Wenchi Methodist Hospital need financial assistance to enable them buy drugs that are not available at the hospital.

Assistant headmaster in charge of academics, Oti Akenten said two of their female students have also been hospitalized at the Sunyani Regional Hospital.

He also pleaded for more financial support for the victims.

Mr Oti Akenten said the school has completely been devastated by the incident but said normal classes have now resumed

At the Wenchi Methodist Hospital, Dr Sibirie Bullu said the three students on admission at the facility are responding to treatment.

By Johnson Kofi Takyi|TV3||Ghana

Elmina school makes Ghana proud as joint-winners of global STEM competition

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Over 50 high school students from the United States and Ghana faced off in Washington, DC on March 18 to create innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) solutions to critical global challenges.

Team “Big Bang Brains of the World,” comprised of students and teachers from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Edinaman Senior High School in Elmina, Ghana, won the competition with their concept for the Earth Battery.

The device works by converting the chemical energy in wet soil to electrical energy. The voltage produced can light LED bulbs. Prototype concepts by the three other finalists included a natural water purifier, a sustainable exhaust filter, and a kinetic piezo-electric mat.

“Now that we can generate electricity from soil, it can help solve Ghana’s power crisis,” said Queen Jasmine Grant from Edinaman Senior High School in Ghana, a participant on the winning team.

“The potential impact of the Earth Battery can help enhance children’s education by powering electricity in schools and household appliances.”

The competition was the culminating event of the World Smarts STEM Challenge – a virtual exchange initiative run by the global development nonprofit IREX and supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York. It pairs 10th and 11th grade students and teachers in Ghana, Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, on diverse, collaborative teams.

To develop and promote their concept, team ‘Big Bang Brains of the World’ will now receive support to market their innovation to angel investors, crowdfunding initiatives, and corporate partners. The World Smarts STEM Challenge will also match up to $10,000 in funds raised to further invest in their prototype.

“With $10,000 we could make roughly 1,400 Earth Batteries,” said Michael Nagel of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland.

“Someday, the battery could even be used for emergency relief for natural disasters, powering refugee camps, or benefiting local businesses.”

Over the course of four months, more than 240 students and 16 bi-national teams embarked on a collaborative virtual exchange to discover and build STEM solutions to global issues that affect their communities, inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

IREX selected four teams as finalists to present prototypes of their innovations at the showcase event to a panel of expert judges in STEM fields.

The judges included: Astrid Aniwa, Forensic DNA Technologist, Bode Cellmark Forensics; James Creel, Senior Program Manager, Engineering for Global Development, American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Jim Egenrieder, Director, Virginia Tech Thinkabit Labs; Lauren Griggs, doctoral student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University; Gabino Gurengomba, Co-Founder and CEO, Integrated Solar Technologies.

Not only does the initiative strengthen students’ skills in global collaboration and understanding, it aims to ignite students’ passion for STEM subjects and increase the number of students who major in higher education STEM fields throughout the US and Ghana.

Only 16% of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. Among those who do major in STEM during college, only about half choose to work in a related career.

“STEM knowledge is an essential component to solving the global challenges we face today,” said Rebecca Bell Meszaros, associate vice president for education at IREX.

“We want to empower young people to pursue success on an international scale. World Smarts is a way to strengthen their skills and encourage them to get excited about the possibilities for innovation and problem-solving with STEM.”


Hall week celebrations postponed at UCC

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Acts of vandalism recorded at the Oguaa Hall of the University of Cape Coast has forced authorities to push back all hall week celebrations to allow for adequate security measures to be put in place.

The postponement is also to allow students who are “emotionally and psychologically traumatised” to heal and also ensure calm is restored, a statement issued by the management of the University explained.

Students from the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, Unity Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as well as those from the Atlantic Hall of the University of Cape Coast clashed with those at the Ogua Hall of the same University.

some of the injured

The Ogua Hall students were said to have prevented those from the three halls who were attending the hall week of Atlantic from entering their hall, leading to the riot which also caused destruction to property.

The decision to postpone the hall week celebrations was taken at a meeting convened by the school authorities and attended by the Graduate Students Association of Ghana, Students Representative Council, JCRC executives from Casely Hayford and Oguaa Hall, hall masters and the Central Regional Police Command.

READ: [Video] The ‘Conti’ clash at UCC

Ogua Hall, which was expected to have its celebrations from Wednesday has been rescheduled to April 5, while that of Casely Hayford that has been scheduled for March 29, has been maintained

According to the statement issued by the Vice Chancellor office said management has resolved to take care of bills of the injured, and also restore all damaged properties to their original state within a short possible time.

“Students are therefore assured to go about their studies without any fear as police will be intensifying security until the situation becomes normal”, it concluded

By Thomas Cann|TV3||Ghana

Atta Mills Memorial SHS population dwindles – MP

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Over 50 model SHSs were commissioned by the John Mahama-led government

Student population in the first senior high school (SHS) at Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region has reduced, according to the Member of Parliament for Ekumfi Constituency.

Named after former late President John Evans Atta Mills, the community day SHS was commissioned in 2015.

But less than two years, the school population has reduced drastically.

Ekumfi MP Francis Kingsley Ato Codjoe made the revelations on Onua FM’s Ghana Dadwene on Tuesday, March 21.

He said the school had over 450 students but the number has gone down to about 250.

And it is still going down, he stated.

The Deputy Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development noted that “it has gone down to about 250 and it is still going down because the people got disappointed”.

“They said it is free but they got there and realized they have to pay so parents got disappointed because the inhabitants cannot afford,” the MP added.

Mr. Ato Cudjoe noted that “they have no hostel facilities so students have to walk for several kilometers before they get to school since parents cannot afford to give money for their children for transportation”.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM||Ghana

Seven Great Princess Academy students go traditional on Cultural Day

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Seven Great Princess Academy has organized a cultural day at its Dansoman campus in Accra for its students as part of efforts to instill in them Ghanaian Cultural values.

The cultural day is a celebration of various tribes, traditions and culture of the diverse students who are from the 10 regions of Ghana, African continent and Europe.

Students displayed their respective culture in various cultural activities including dancing, poetry recitals and display of traditional clothes among others.

It was a colourful atmosphere at the Dansoman campus of the school as the students took advantage of the maiden event to prove they are in tune with their traditions and culture, which in recent is being threatened by westernization and modernization in recent times.A number of the students expressed excitement about the cultural day, and expressed the hope that it is continued by the school authorities.

Modernity coupled with increasing interest in social media, according to the students, are corrupting the youth hence believe the cultural day is one of the surest ways to keep bring and keep them close to their culture and its values.

The Assistant Director of the school, Yvette Brown, has assured the students the event will be an annual affair, promising a mega one next year.

She thanked the students and the organisers for the commitment which ensured the event was successful.

Ms Brown said it was time for students to know their culture, adding events like the cultural day are the practical ways of making students know and understand their traditions and culture.

A Ga traditional group was awarded the best performers for the day.

By Nana Akua Amankwaa||Ghana

Walewale Cluster of Schools closed down

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The Walewale D/A Cluster of Schools in the Northern Region have been closed down following a near clash between some residents, believed to be coming from the Walewale palace, and staff of the school on Monday March 20, 2017.

The affected schools are the Walewale D/A JHS “B”, the Walewale Primary B1 & B2, and the Walewale D/A KG.

A visit to the school Tuesday morning March 21, 2017 by reveals a quiet atmosphere with no sign of pupils.

Classrooms have been locked with padlocks with no sight of a single pupil except the presence of teachers on the premises of the school who were awaiting the arrival of the West Mamprusi District Education Director Hajia Mase Sulemana who was scheduled to visit the school for a meeting.

Mumuni Musah, a School Management Committee member, aments that the lives of teachers and pupils are in danger.

“They came wielding sticks and dangerous weapons threatening the teachers, some even gave the teachers an ultimatum of 24hrs to vacate the school or get beaten up and this is just because they defended the school lands from a developer who has bought portion of the land from the Walewale-Rana Duundana Mahami Mutari”.

TV3 also gathered that in an attempt to save the lands, the School Management Committee petitioned the District Assembly and the Ghana Education Service but they are yet to respond.

The West Mamprusi District Education Director, Hajia Mase Suleman in an interview revealed the Chief of Walewale Duundana Mahami Mutari has issued notice to all encroachers to stop working on the land until further notice.

“We visited the Chief of Walewale to lodge a formal complaint and he told us that he has issued notice to all developers to cease working until further notice, he however denied giving out the land to the encroachers as purported by some section of the populace”.

Parents, Teachers Association of the school and Hajia Mase Sulemana have been meeting to resolve this incidence.

Hajia Mase however revealed teachers and pupils may return to school tomorrow Wednesday 22nd March 2017 but that will be determined by today’s meeting with stakeholders.

By Zubaida Ismail ||Ghana

Protecting the environment: INSPOCCE in focus

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The task of providing quality education to students requires effective partnership and participation of all stakeholders, including donor bodies. This article does not have the métier to list all the organisations which are supporting the Ghana Education Service (GES) to deliverquality education to the Ghanaian child.

The author, however,calls for applausefor the World Education, Inc. (WEI), the Global Alliance for Clean Cook-stoves (GACC) and the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cook-stoves (GHACCO), at least, for the sake of this write-up.In fact, they are working seriously with GES, the Ministry of Energy and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to develop what is called, “Integrated School Project on Clean Cooking Energy (INSPOCCE)”.

The essence of INSPOCCE is to imbibe in pupils the knowledge of using clean and efficient household cooking solutionswhich will protect the environment and improve livelihoods.

The rate of household-energy consumption in Ghana

According to the draft Teachers’ Manual on INSPOCCE (n.d.a), energy, although not being featured prominently in the Millennium Development Goals,has made undisputed contributions to human life and so has now been captured clearly among the Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Energy Agency, IEA (2011) says about 1.3 billion people lack electricity and 2.7 billion people relying on traditional biomass for cooking and heating with more than one-third of a household’s budget servicing fuel costs in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Having recognised the need for better access to affordable, sustainable and environmentally sound energy resources and services, the United Nations General Assembly declaredthe year, 2012, as an International Year of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)bycalling on member states, including Ghana, to raise the awareness of citizens of the need to address energy issues and to promote action(s)that protect the environment locally and globally.

The Ghana Living Standards Survey (2014) informs that 72.8% of households use wood fuel and charcoal (that is; 41.3% on wood fuel and 31.5% on charcoal). It adds that 22.3% use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) with 43.6% and 35.8% of urban dwellers using charcoal and LPG respectively as their cooking fuels.

Reports also say over 52.7% of households in Accra alone use LPG compared to 28.0% of those in other urban communities with 74.8% of rural householdson wood fuels and 16.5% on charcoal.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (2015) believes that over 50% of wood fuel harvested globally satisfies household energy needs as developing countries contribute 75% of the harvested wood fuel to households for cooking, heating and for lighting.

Negative effects of using traditional biomass

Findings say the over-dependence on traditional biomass, such as wood fuel,for cooking, heating and lighting comes with its own challenges for the environment and human health.

The draft Peer Educators’ Session Manual on INSPOCCE (n.d.a) says the cooking method of using woody biomass as fuel has affected the health, environment and economic livelihoods of users, their immediate localities through national to global extents, and that, “The risk of female household members exposed to indoor smoke suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases or heart-related diseases is three times higher than those who are not. They risk higher rates of deaths from lung cancer. As a cultural practice, fuel wood collection and cooking responsibilities limit the women’s capacity to advance or do other things.”

Bond (2007) has estimated the use of traditional biomass for cooking to have accounted for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions with IEA (2006) also stating that, “Although the collection of fuel-wood does not directly cause deforestation because the branches are mainly collected from roadsides or agricultural lands, the production of charcoal from fuel-wood burning has been proved to exacerbate land degradation in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) informs that an exposure to household-air pollution contributes to 16,000 deaths per year in Ghana with the same condition also to blame for the annual loss of 502,000 disability-adjusted life years (according to DALY, a standard metric used by WHO to read the burden of death and illness from specific risk factors).

The high demand for fuel-wood leads to Ghana having one of the highest rates of deforestation in Africa. In addition, the environmental impact of traditional cooking methods includes air pollution, with over 16,600 deaths annually as a result of exposure to Household Air Pollution and more than 21 million people being impacted by exposure to HAP each year (WHO, 2014).

The INSPOCCEand the environment

INSPOCCE, which is being funded by GACC, started in September 2015 as a pilot project involving 2,000 junior high students, 50 teachers and 18,000 community members in New Achimota, Odumase-Amanfrom, Kutunse, Fise, Sapeiman, Pokuase and Akotoshiein the Ga West Municipality of Greater Accra Region.It targetsto reach more schools and communities in other parts of the country by August, this year, under an ongoing pilot extension programme.

The designers, partners and prospective implementers believe that by the time all field trialson the INSPOCCE project are completed, lessons learnt will have enhanced their chances of having to convince policy makers to consider incorporating the project into the basic school curriculum so as to help bring about the needed attitudinal changes in students, families and communities regarding clean-cooking solutions and household energy conservation practices.

Some seventeen officers of GACC and their collaborators, including the Curriculum Research and Development Division (CRDD) of GES, met recently at the GES Headquarters in Accra to review the progress of work on the INSPOCCE project with Mrs. Felicia Boakye-Yiadom, the Director of CRDD and acting Deputy Director-General of GES, as chairperson.

To make a shift from traditional cook-stove technology to a clean-cooking technology as a step towards protecting the environment and human health, a broad range of innovative cook-stoves, such as rocket cook-stoves, forced air stoves, Gasifier stoves, improved charcoal stoves, alcohol stoves, biogas stoves, electric stoves, LPG stoves, plancha stoves, solar stoves, panel solar cookers, box solar cookers and parabolic solar cookers with their fuel solutions like raw biomass, charcoal, ethanol, biogas, hydro-power, solar energy, wind and LPG,are being designed under INSPOCCE for the possible integration into the basic school curriculum.

It is, however, interesting to learn that of about 302 existing improved cook-stoves, only a few are available on the Ghanaian market as the INSPOCCE Peer Educators’ Session Manual (n.d.a) also thinks that the use of clean-cooking technologypromotes efficient combustion and reduces the concentrations of particulate matterof burnt fuels in the atmosphere.

There is the need for us to contribute to the strengthening of all policies, laws and plans, including the Ghana National Climate Change Policy, Renewable Energy Law, National Energy Plan, Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II, Ghana Sustainable Energy for All, National Policy of LPG Promotion and the National Electrification Scheme, so as to make them more responsive to our renewable energy requirements as a country.

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

The writer is an educationist and public relations officer of Ghana Education Service.

E-mail: [email protected][email protected]