Accra, May 30 GNA - Mr Joseph Jectey Asare, Headmaster of Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC), Legon in Accra on Saturday said the academic standard of the school has not fallen. He said various interpretations were given by the public about the school's academic performance after a league table of schools based upon the number of students who obtained six passes and above in the 2003 examination was published in the newspapers and PRESEC was placed at the 17th position.
Mr Asare, who was speaking at the school's 66th speech and prize-giving day in Accra, said, "we in PRESEC are not so much concerned about the validity of whatever methods were used in arriving at the order of merit, our aim is to be the best or among the best, whatever methodology was employed to determine who the best was."
The day, sponsored by the 1979 year group was under theme; "Harnessing resources for quality secondary education." Mr Asare said that PRESEC had the highest number of qualified candidates admitted to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Cape Coast in the 2003/2004 academic year.
He said KNUST admitted 240 PRESEC students while University of Ghana, Legon admitted 347 and that the school has over the years maintained its standard.
He said the number of students who obtained aggregate 16, assumed to be the minimum safe aggregate for admission into public universities, PRESEC obtained 56.33 in 2003 which, compares favourably with 50.16 per cent and 54.31 per cent obtained in 2001 and 2002 respectively. He noted that in 2003, 16 candidates had aggregate 6 whereas there were four and five candidates in 2002 and 2001 respectively.
Mr Asare said the school presented 667 students for the 2003 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination out of which 92.2 per cent of the candidates obtained six passes and above, but 80.21 per cent of them had the minimum qualification aggregate of 24 required for entry into the tertiary institutions.
This, he said meant that about 12 per cent of the candidates who obtained six passes could not obtain the minimum aggregate of 24 because they did not pass the required subjects.
Mr Asare said with a total population of 2131, with 620 in SSS one, 716 in SSS two and 795 in SSS three the school was faced with problems such as lack of classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, staff bungalows and a broken-down wall for effective monitoring of students. He said out of 102 teachers only 36 were properly housed on the compound, adding that human and material resources were needed to enhance teaching and learning.
Dr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State for Economic Planning said amount of 810 billion cedis was projected to be transferred into the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) for 2004. Dr Ashong said government paid a total of 708 billion cedis into the GETFUND in 3003.
He said most school infrastructural facilities were deteriorating because they were over-stretched by the ever growing populations in the school educational institutions.
Dr Ashong said the GETFUND was therefore, instituted to help address these problems in the construction of schools.
He said GETFUND was currently resourced from 20 per cent of total VAT receipts, which meant that the higher the revenue mobilised, the higher the amount that would be paid into the FUND.
He said government would continue to devise policies that would ensure that the tax net was widened to rope in all those who earn taxable incomes to make them live up to their civic responsibilities. He said it was the policy of government to improve the level of infrastructure in at least one district, adding that a new campus was being constructed for the Ghanata Secondary at Dodowa at the cost of 31 billion cedis.
He said the education sector has benefited immensely from HIPC fund, adding that 149.7 billion was allocated to the sector from the fund last year.
Dr Ashong noted that disbursement from the fund so far for this year amounted to 84.3 billion cedis.
He commended the Parent Teacher Association of the school for constructing two-unit semi-dedicated bungalows for the school in addition to assisting in the rehabilitation of a number of staff bungalows and a clinic.
He however, said that care must be taken not to over-burden parents by imposing levies that would be too much for them to bear, adding that, that was why government had put measures to ensure that parents were not over-exploited under the guise of PTA.
He said for the country's secondary schools to fully exploit the resources that lay outside state domain, they should be community-based, by bringing all interested parties in the development of the sector, He congratulated the 1979 year group for volunteering to construct a combination of basketball/volley court for the school at s projected cost of 150 billion cedis.
Mr Oko Adjetey, Past President of the Ghana Institute of Architecture who chaired the function called on all stakeholders to be committed to developing the sector and urged students to take their studies seriously and maintain discipline.
Mr S.O. Darko, Member of Paliament for Ga North, presented two computers to the school.
Mr Micheal Benissan Gbikpi, a business student, who obtained eight A's was adjudged the overall best student in the 2003 SSCE and received a set of books, a citation and one million cedi cash from Mr E G. N Oquaye, an old boy of the school.
Some student and staff received prizes from the various old boy year groups for excellence and dedicated service. 30 May 30 04