Ankaful-Saltpond, a fishing community in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region, has received its first-ever public basic school after it was founded some six centuries ago.
The six-unit classroom block built for the Saltpond-Ankaful M/A Basic School by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Foundation, was on persistent request of the chiefs and people to help educate the children in the community.
The project forms part of the Corporation's Corporate Social Responsibility to the Saltpond township for hosting the Saltpond Oil Field, Ghana's oldest oil field, for about 50 years.
The yellow and cream structure overlooks the community from a ridge with a panoramic view of the ocean littered with canoes.
Until now, the community of about 4,900 people had virtually no basic school, a situation which forced children to trek several kilometres to school at Saltpond, Hini and other communities on daily basis.
The situation has been a major disincentive, compelling many children to stay at home or venture into other activities, resulting in grave consequences on the community's literacy rate.
To mitigate the situation, the Fort Amsterdam Foundation, with the help of the community, in 2017 established the Fort Amsterdam School, educating children from nursery one to class five.
Due to the lack of adequate space, coupled with an inadequate staff strength, classes four and five were combined to create room for pupils who have just been promoted to class six.
The establishment of the new school, therefore, means a major boost for education in the community as it will provide a more conducive learning environment and increase enrolment.
Handing over the project to the community and the Ghana Education Service, Madam Lubaabat Habib-Jawulaa, Head of Environment and Social Amenities of GNPC, explained that the project scheduled to be completed in six months after the sod was cut in February 2020, was delayed for close to three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She assured that the Foundation would expand the school with a Junior High School (JHS) block and a 12-seater sanitary facility from proceeds realised from the scraps that would be sold after the decommissioning of the Saltpond Oil Field.
Nana Kwame Ntsiful V, Akanful-Saltpond Odikro, who expressed joy and appreciation for the project, indicated that the school would help to improve the lives of the people.
Stressing the need to educate the community's population, he indicated that a nation without an educated and skilled human resource could not undertake any meaningful development.
He appealed to the Member of Parliament for the area, the GNPC and other benevolent organisations to help construct major drains for the community to contain the incidence of flood and erosion.
Nana Kwame Ntsiful also appealed for two waste containers to help curb the insanitary situation in the area.
Madam Betty Smith, the Mfantseman Municipal Education Director, urged parents to take keen interest in the education of their children, stressing that education was not the responsibility of government alone.
She observed that parents usually neglected the education of their children, especially the girl child, which she warned could lead them into becoming social misfits, adding that education was the best gift a parent could give to their child to empower and make them useful resources to the nation.
“Now we have a school and so please make sure your children attend school. Our children should not finish school at JHS and leave the many big Senior High Schools in the region to people from other regions alone to occupy them,” she stated.
Madam Eunice Okuruw, the Headteacher of the two basic schools, explained that the Ankaful M/A Basic School would host classes one to six.
She thanked the GNPC Foundation for the gesture and called for the expansion of the school as soon as possible.