Rev. Prof. E. Kingsley Larbi, President and CEO of Regent University College of Technology, has called for an effective and quality educational system that would adequately prepare products of Ghanaian educational institutions to compete favourably with their peers in the global arena.
Noting that this should begin with a firm policy on the duration of the Senior High School system, he stressed that "we should work for a system that will adequately prepare the country’s children to enable them undertake university education anywhere in the world."
Rev. Prof Larbi was speaking as Guest Speaker at the 25th anniversary and fifth speech and prize-giving day ceremony of the Presbyterian Senior High Technical School (PSHTS) at Larteh-Akuapem in the Eastern Region of Ghana on Saturday, November 19, 2011.
The theme for the occasion was 'Celebrating the Emergence of the Senior High Technical School from the Salem Tradition: The Developmental Challenges and the Way Forward.'
Professor Larbi continued: `We should be concerned about why WASCE English is not acceptable for a university entry in countries like Britain, whereas students with similar qualifications from other countries are accepted.
"We should also be concerned about why applicants with very good passes in the West Africa School Certificate Examinations cannot gain direct admission into a British university without going through a one-year international foundation programme."
Referring to the high poverty level in the three northern regions and their widespread infrastructural underdevelopment, the Regent-Ghana founder welcomed efforts by the government to bring that part of the country in line with the rest of Ghana as being a good step.
He added, however, that one should not forget the fact that there are communities in the Eastern Regions and, indeed, other parts of the country, whose condition is as bad as those living in the three northern regions, reiterating that "It will therefore be a travesty of justice if this fact is ignored as we distribute the nation's wealth which belongs to all of us."
Addressing the myriad of challenges facing the PSHTS, which he listed as poor infrastructure, inadequate hostel facilities, non-existence off a working library, lack of accommodation for teachers and non-availability of a standby generator that will atone for the power outages that constantly afflict the town.
He noted that though reference to non-availability of internet connectivity in a school that has inadequate hostel facilities and other serious challenges may sound flippant to many, it should not be forgotten that today`s world is driven by information communication technology and our children should not be seen to be seen to be lagging behind if they are to be able to compete with the rest of the world.
He said after 25 or so years as a high school, and that our own Benkum Secondary School, looking at the situation with a population of around 2000 students has only five computes in the computer laboratory, and that almost all the Junior «high schools in the town recorded only an average performance in the BECE examinations, it will not be out of place for some of the people gathered at the occasion to identify with the Weeping Prophet, Prophet Jeremiah, in his lamentation that:
"The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved; since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? Oh that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people" (Jer. 8:20-9:1, NIV).
He regretted that More often than not, we don’t get things done in our various communities, institutions, and, indeed, our country because of lack of leadership at various levels; failure to take charge or assume responsibility of situations; failure to do the right things or use the right methods, restriction by our personal deeds and comfort, or unpreparedness to sacrifice or share what we have with others.
Regarding these, the President affirmed: "As I have said before, things don’t just happen; we have to make things happen! With visionary leadership at all levels, collective effort, hard work, dedication and sacrifice, we can transform the Presbyterian Secondary and Technical High School in this town, and other institutions around our country. We can also in the same vein, indeed transform our various communities and our country within a short period." (Read Text of Address)
The Special Guest of Honour for the occasion, Rev. Dr. J.O.Y. Mante, President, Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, urged the implementation of free education up to the Senior High School level and the redefining of the government’s educational priorities to provide more resources for the educational sector without any political considerations.
He also appealed for government permission to Parents' Teachers' Associations to raise funds towards the development of schools in the country.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong, Akuapem Presbytey chairperson and Chairman for the occasion, challenged teachers of the school to "prepare well and teach well," asking the students to also "work harder." He presented a brand new Renault Duster four-wheel-drive to the school on behalf of the presbytery to be used by the head master in carrying out his functions. He also donated GHc100 towards the education of a needy-but-brilliant student in the school, said to be seeing himself through school, and a further $100 towards a provision of a digital projector for the school.
On his part, the President, Rev. Prof. Larbi, offered to extend scholarships to qualified students of the school to read courses in Engineering and Computer Science and Management. He also promised a scholarship to the brilliant but needy student to continue his education at Regent.
Citations, awards and prices were given to various students, academic staff and workers who had distinguished themselves in various fields.