The Headmaster of the Ave Senior High School, in the Akatsi District of the Volta Region, Mr. Francis Sepenu Von Fiabor, has expressed grave misgivings over the Computer Selection and Placement system, introduced by the Ghana Education Service.
He explained that prospective students to remote schools like that of the Ave Senior High, after the placement by the computer system, only visit the school, leave and refuse to return, due to poor conditions in the schools.
He noted that, last year for instance, a boy from Yendi, who gained admission to the school, did not report after coming face to face with its poor infrastructure.
Mr. Sepenu, who was speaking in an interview with The Chronicle at Ave-Dakpa in the Akatsi district, said the development was of grave worry to him and other heads in the rural schools, because it seemed as if the Computer Placement system only favoured renowned schools, to the detriment of the rural ones.
The Ave Senior High School Headmaster noted that the situation could only change, if heads of the deprived schools were allowed to admit students from the catchments area of the school to fill numerous vacancies, to complement the work of the computer selection system.
Mr. Sepenu recalled that the Ave Senior High School was established in 1991 by the government and the Ave-Dakpa community, which donated a 47-acre land to the school with the initial student population of 101.
He said in 1998 the population reduced, because most prospective students who qualified to attend the school, left the area to well-endowed schools in the towns and cities.
To buttress his point, the Headmaster said in 2004, the student population increased to 365, but diminished drastically to 281, noting that this year, only 69 students gained admission into the school, instead of the 240 requested, and stressed that the Computer Placement system was not helping the school to grow.
Mr. Sepenu noted that as if the enrolment problem was not enough, the school administration was also confronted with the problem of inadequate classrooms and hostel facilities.
The school has only a three-unit classroom block, and one three-unit shed, which is being used as a classroom, a situation, he said, was affecting teaching and learning whenever it rained.
He explained that the school needed one three-unit classroom block, in addition to the existing structures, to help promote effective teaching and learning, adding that due to the inadequate classroom facilities, the school would found it extremely difficult to run the new educational reforms, because there would be no classroom to accommodate fourth year students.
Mr. Fiabor continued that another serious problem facing the school was that of a hostel facility for both boys and girls.
According to him, had it not been the interest shown in the activities of the school by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the students would have no accommodation, adding that the PTA rented a private home for the students, to ease the accommodation difficulties, and stressed that the Akatsi District Assembly built a hostel for the girls, but has not handed it over to the school.
He said the school has only one old one-cabin pick-up truck, which could only carry the headmaster and a teacher, but that had also broken down for sometime now.
According to the Headmaster, anytime the school wanted to embark on a tour, it had to hire commercial vehicles with the support of the PTA.
Mr. Fiabor also said the school had only two bungalows, and the twenty teachers in the school were housed in rented private homes in the town, which according to him demoralized them, because anytime it rained, they could not come to school due to the poor nature of the access road to the school.
The dejected Headmaster appealed to the government to give equal opportunities to educational institutions, particularly by supporting deprived schools.
He regretted that though the well-endowed schools in the cities had more than two vehicles, they were still being given buses by the government, whilst the poor rural school like the Ave Senior High did not get a single one.