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August 11, 2008 | Education

WAEC warns Oguaa Varsity Practice Senior High School…of imminent ban on SSCE science practicals

David Alan Painstil & Magdalene Sey, Cape Coast - Ghanaian Chronicle

The atmosphere at the University Practice Senior High School (UPSS) in Cape Coast, could best be described as an uneasy one, as the school has been given an ultimatum, by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), to construct a bigger science laboratory for the various science disciplines, before the next West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) take off next year.

Failure to do so by the school authorities, government or parents and guardians, will mean total exclusion of the students from the science practicals examination, in next year's WASSCE.

This was disclosed to Central File by the Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Juliana Owusu-Ansah, when the File visited her office, which is a few kilometers away from the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

Further explaining the situation prevailing at the school, Mrs. Owusu-Ansah somberly narrated that the directive from WAEC, came last year when some officials of the Council visited the school, to supervise the science practicals examination, the students were undertaking.

She said the officials upon seeing the school's science laboratory block, which they described as a small single room, where science students undertake their agriculture, chemistry, physics and biology practical examinations, exclaimed that it was below WAEC standards.

This was because the laboratory is overcrowded during examinations, which do not augur well for good academic work. In view of that, the WAEC officials have called for the construction of separate laboratories, for the various science courses, as a way of promoting a congenial atmosphere for students to go on with their academic work and examinations.

According to the Headmistress, the school was formerly using the science laboratories of the UCC, but pressure mounted on them by the university students, compelled the school to convert one of the classrooms into a laboratory.

She added that efforts were made by the school, to put up a new science block, to beat the deadline given by WAEC, with assistance from Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of the school, who financed it up to the foundation stages, and which was completed by the UCC, under the sponsorship of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

Mrs. Owusu-Ansah said a new science block had been constructed for the school, but it had not been opened to the students, because it had not been equipped with the needed furniture and science equipment.

“The school is still counting on the Ghana Education Service (GES), to furnish and equip the building, with all the necessary logistics,” she remarked.

She noted that even though the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA), as well as the PTA, had been supplementing the efforts of the UCC, by providing some infrastructure for the school, the school still lacked many facilities, as compared to Mfantsipim College, Adisadel College, Ghana National College and Wesley Girls High School.

“What is more pathetic, is that since last year, the school has not received any financial support from the university, which it serves, as a practical school to UCC, because funds received by the university, were not enough to complete the university's own projects,” bemoaned the Headmistress.

She, therefore, appealed to government, to assist the school get direct access to GETFund allocations, since it was presently functioning under the UCC, so as to enable the GETFund provide basic infrastructure for the school.

The school, together with Oguaa Secondary Technical, Breman Asikuma Senior High School, and Kwegyir Aggrey Senior High School at Anomabo, were left out of the list of schools, in the Central Region, which received buses from the government recently.

This has been described by some observers as discriminating against some second cycle schools in the region, while others like the Wesley Girls High School, and other model schools, have a number of vehicles.

She lamented at the way and manner government had been distributing buses, to some schools in the region, without including them. “It was only the PTA, which donated a 23-seater bus to the school 13 years ago, which is presently, nothing to write home about,” she cried out.

The Headmistress, however, appealed to government to provide a bus for the staff and the students, to enable them work efficiently.

She also noted that out of the 46 teachers in the school, only eight have accommodation, indicating that the situation has made maintaining the discipline of the students, very difficult.

Mrs. Owusu-Ansah, again, disclosed that most of the time, students were attacked on their way to their various hostels in the university communities, because of lack of hostels in the school.

Touching on the new educational reform, Mrs. Owusu-Ansah, said even though the reform stipulates that much priority should be placed on the teaching of Information Communication Technology (ICT), the school's computer laboratory was virtually empty.

She made another passionate appeal to the government, to assist the school with all the needed logistics being enjoyed by other second cycle institutions in the metropolis, in order to meet the requirements for the new educational reform.

She has, therefore, called on government to, as a matter of urgency, extend a helping hand to the school, particularly equipping the science laboratory before the senior high school final examinations begin next year.

The UPSS was established by the UCC in 1976, to serve as a practice school for the training of teachers of the university. It has a student population of 809, and is purely a day school, with only 3% of the girls in hostels.

The majority of the students are permanent residents of the region specifically, Cape Coasters.

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