Access to quality education by all is an effective tool for addressing injustices and poverty concerns and a mechanism for driving accelerated socio-economic development and transformation in Ghana, Mr Thomas Awiapo, the Proprietor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Preparatory School in Wiaga, Upper East Region, has said.
“Education is one of the greatest tools that can break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and sufferings in our communities and our country because it is a source of liberation.”
He underscored the need for strategic investment to be made to promote children’s access to enabling environment and best teaching and learning practices, especially at the basic level, to equip them with the needed skills to contribute sustainably for societal transformation.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, the Proprietor said due to the critical role education played in the foundation of every child, the St. Thomas Aquinas Preparatory School was established at Wiaga in the Builsa North Municipality to offer children the opportunity to have a good start.
He said the basic school which was established in 2017, with only 17 children currently had 315 pupils and run from kindergarten through to primary with 10 teaching staff.
The school currently has two six-unit classroom blocks with offices attached while a childhood education centre is also under construction.
It also has a mechanized water supply system, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, and 12 desktop computers for the children to learn Information and Community Technology while laptops have been provided for the teaching staff.
Mr Awiapo noted that the construction of the school’s infrastructure was supported by friends largely from the United States of America.
He said in the past years his friends in the USA used to give students scholarships into the senior high schools, however, most of the students did not perform well in Mathematics, Science, and English Language subjects and the situation prevented them from access to tertiary institutions.
Mr Awaiapo said research had shown that the poor performance of students at the Senior High Schools was due largely to the poor tuition they received at the basic school level.
Mr Awiapo explained that the main rationale behind the establishment of the school at the community was, therefore, to allow children in the area to have easy access to quality education and training especially at the basic school level to help address the abysmal performance at the senior high schools
The Proprietor said apart from the school having five tricycles (Mahama Can Do) as means of transport for children, it had maintained its school fees at GHC 200.00 per child since its establishment, adding, “we have also identified families who are poor and some pay 75 per cent, others, 50 per cent or 25 percent and there are some who do not pay anything.”
Mr Awiapo said the school had a library well stocked with books and a science laboratory to ensure that children who receive training at the school were equipped with the needed science and technological skills to help them succeed.
Mr Roland Ajiabadek Apindem, the Chairman of the Parent Teachers Association said apart from the discipline and moral values that the school instills in the children, it had offered less privileged children the opportunity to have access to quality education.