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15.01.2005 Education

Otumfuo Education Fund spends c184m as scholarships

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Kumasi, Jan 15, GNA - The Otumfuo Education Fund has since 2001 spent about 184 million cedis as scholarships for over 300 basic school pupils.

The fund has also spent over 591 million cedis on about 900 senior secondary school students as scholarships while about 100 students in tertiary institutions, especially in the three public universities have also been given financial assistance.

The Most Reverend Joseph Osei Bonsu, Catholic Bishop of Konongo-Mampong diocese and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fund, disclosed this in Kumasi on Saturday.

He was launching the five-year report on the fund at the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs.

The fund was instituted in 1999 by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, when he was enstooled as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool to fight illiteracy in Asanteman and other parts of the country through the provision of financial and material assistance to needy but brilliant students and pupils.

The Most Rev Osei-Bonsu said during the past five years, the Board of Trustees concentrated a lot of efforts at improving infrastructure in basic schools, senior secondary schools and teacher training colleges. He said since 2001, the fund had provided about 2,000 dual desks for distribution to a number of schools throughout all the 18 districts of Ashanti.

The Most Rev Osei-Bonsu said there had been considerable improvements in senior secondary schools and teacher training colleges in the region with the rehabilitation of buildings, the provision of water with the rehabilitation school wells and provision of storage facilities.

There had also been improvement in the supply of books for school libraries, provision of computers for computer laboratories and the supply of equipment and other materials for science laboratories. He, however, regretted that in spite of the importance of the fund, most people had shown a lackadaisical attitude towards contributing to the fund while in some cases there had been a misconception about the fund.

This, the Most Rev Osei-Bonsu said had greatly affected the total receipts of the fund over the years as contributions were steadily dwindling.

The Most Rev Osei-Bonsu announced that the fund will this year start the running of courses in the teaching of English for teachers in all the districts to help improve upon the standard of English in basic schools.

This, he said, will improve the quality of teaching in schools since the English language constituted the basis of all academic endeavours.

The Board of Trustees with the support of the Asantehene will therefore from this year introduce appropriate levies for all the paramount chiefs to pay in order to ensure that they in turn will collect the money from their subjects.

The Most Rev Osei-Bonsu also said the fund will organise more fund-raising activities such as football matches and intensify interaction with identifiable groups to encourage them to collect contributions from their members on a regular basis.

Professor (Mrs) Florence Abena Dolphine, vice-chairperson of the Board of Trustees, announced that the fund had decided to adopt the Osei Tutu Secondary School at Akropong in the Atwima district in honour of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to make it a first class boy's secondary school. She said the board would strive to deal with the administrative and logistic constraints inhibiting its work to ensure that the dream of the Asantehene was fully realised.

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