Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, last weekend advised students to shun their reliance on occultism and drugs to enhance learning.
He said such vices would undermine and derail their good intentions for academic excellence, make waste the huge investments made by their parents and the government in their education.
Addressing the 30th anniversary celebration of St. James Seminary/Senior High School at Abesim, near Sunyani, Mr Baffour-Awuah urged the students to study hard and exhibit good moral characters for a brighter future.
The celebration was under the theme, “St. James at 30: Achievements and Challenges”.
Mrs Akua Debrah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Education, commended the founding fathers, rectors, parents, staff and students of the school for their untiring efforts in laying a strong foundation for the school and ensuring high academic standard and moral discipline over the years.
She urged all and sundry to contribute more either in cash or in kind to enable the school maintain and expand its facilities.
Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani Diocese, expressed concern about high indiscipline, all sorts of addiction, occultism and attributed the phenomenon to the current philosophy of unfettered freedom and low emphasis on morals and ethics in the society, more particularly in educational systems and institutions.
He stressed the need for a well articulated agenda for the moral and spiritual formation of students and the youth, adding, “Academic excellence should be complemented with high moral and ethical standards and discipline.”
Recounting the history and achievements of the school, Reverend Father Alex Ansu Ebow, the Rector said the school founded in 1978 by the late Bishop of Sunyani Diocese, Most Reverend James Kwadwo Owusu, only admitted and nurtured boys aspiring to become Catholic Priests.
However, he said, in 1994 the school embarked on a policy of admitting non-seminarians to afford each crop of students the opportunity to benefit from moral discipline and high academic standards and the school became a government assisted institution that same year with the church having the sole right to administer it.
Between 2003 and 2007, out of 760 candidates presented for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, 637 gained admission to the university.
Rev. Fr. Ebow said its academic laurels included winning essay competitions, national second cycle schools debate and had been ranked first on the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination ranking list since 2006.
He said in addition, the school had trained clerics to strengthen the moral fabric of society and planted several palm trees and more than 1,000 species of commercial trees such as red wood, sapele and teak.
Rev. Fr. Ebow noted that in spite of these achievements, the school had challenges in infrastructure as it lacked an administration block, an assembly hall, library, adequate staff accommodation and appealed to government, non-governmental organizations and philanthropist for assistance.
Mr Fosuaba Akwasi Mensah Banahene, Administrator of Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), underscored the need to act concretely to stem moral decadence particularly amongst the youth to save society from eventual collapse under the weight of sinfulness.
“Partly responsible for this problem is the dangers of modern communications. Most students who have access to the internet facility visit sites that promote pornography, lewdness of love and sexual promiscuity rather than sites that promote righteous or good living. So instead of the internet becoming a tool for education, it has turned to promote mis-education,” he emphasized.
He appealed to parents to assume their dutiful role as “prime educators” of their children, especially in moral education and increase their level of collaboration with teachers in educating their children, stressing, “There is a strong case for Parent Teacher Associations and no one should frustrate them.”
“The parent who is to be the teacher's collaborator in educating the student has almost reneged on his responsibilities and no more exercise control over his or her child,” he noted.