This is a success story. A story of a people determined to brace the odds, rise above their challenges and make the best of their situation.
It is the story of the power of harnessed energies of different groups for a common good.
The Kobina Ansah M/A Basic School in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region has written the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) five times and has had 100 per cent passes each year with its very limited facilities and resources.
The school has only one laptop and no electricity connected to the school but has managed to register and pass all its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) examinations with 100 per cent passes.
The authorities believe they have not arrived at their destination yet. No, not at all. They are determined to make a difference and prove a point, that “it is possible to excel, no matter where you find yourself”.
The authorities of Kobina Ansah M/A Basic School and the people of Kobina Ansah in the Mfantseman Municipality have one understanding; that the lives of its people can be significantly improved through education.
And all stakeholders understand fully the school’s motto; “Knowledge is Power” and are resolute and committed to employing education to help the youth of the community catch up with the rest of the world.
Discipline is a great hallmark of the school.
The head teacher of the school, Madam Alberta Hope, said both teachers and pupils understand the role of discipline in achieving their goals and were very committed to ensuring standards were not lowered.
She said the parents were also very supportive.
“They don’t have an option. Any parent who intimidates a teacher is likely to be summoned before the chief or elders of the town. And so parents are very cooperative.”
She noted that in addition to the usual academic activities, the school has employed the services of others who take the pupils through vocational counselling, tourism and cultural development activities and other relevant life skills and trainings that help prepare the pupils for life.
Madam Hope said the school’s products have had admissions to schools including the Aggrey Memorial Zion School near Cape Coast, Mfantsiman Girls School and Methodist High School both at Saltpond.
She explained that the success of the school had been a collective commitment to ensure high standards at the school by all stakeholders including the School Management Committee (SMC), the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) the chiefs, the community and the pupils.
“Every one of the stakeholders has been made to understand the importance of education to the development of the individual and the impact on the community’s development,” she said in an interview.
She said when the school authorities decided to roll out the junior high school (JHS) at Kobina Ansah, many parents were initially pessimistic.
“They did not believe anything good could come out of the school in relation to grades. Many, therefore, removed their children to continue in other schools.”
She said this made the teachers in particular commit more of their energies to ensure the children passed.
“We did extra classes for them and made sure we made good use of instructional hours. The teachers and students come to school very early. There is a commitment and a desire to do well,” she added.
“The school started writing BECE in 2012 with only six pupils because some of the parents thought the pioneers could not make it but to their surprise the first batch had 100 per cent and this has continued for the past five years.
The last batch who wrote the BECE in 2016 were 20 and they also had 100 per cent passes with the best being aggregate 14 obtained by a girl.
In an address during the school’s maiden speech and prize-giving day recently, Madam Hope reiterated that “illiteracy has become a bane that affects the progress of the society in diverse ways, increasing unemployment, causing maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy and other social vices”.
The success story of the community school so far in building a strong educational foundation of the rural farming community tells of how unity and commitment to achieve success can work for any person or group of persons despite the odds.
The school's history
The Kobina Ansah primary school was established in the year 1942 by the late Nana Amponsah, a renowned head of the Anona clan, with 15 pupils.
Nana Amponsah paid the teachers at the time from his own resources as he was determined to get the young ones in the community through school.
The mud house that housed the school collapsed after some years but Nana Kwaw Baah, a chief of the community, mobilised the members of the community to put up another structure made of bamboo for the school.
Subsequent chiefs ensured the sustenance of the school until 1998 when Plan International, a non-governmental organisation, came to the aid of the community to help build a six-unit classroom block and offices for the school education.
All these years, the school remained a primary school. Its pupils had to travel to Yamoransa, Asebu, Amisakrom or Ekroful communities nearby for their middle school.
In 2013, the current chief, Nana Ansah Bediako XI, sought support from a friend, Mr Isaac Manhiemer, to build a kindergarten for the school.
The school now
Currently, the school has 320 pupils comprising 163 boys and 157 girls with 16 teachers.
Madam Hope called on the government to support the school with more teaching and learning materials to maximise its potential.
Madam Hope called for the provision of electricity in particular to the school.
Secondly, she said pupils of the school were increasingly being knocked down by careless drivers on the main Yamonransa- Kumasi highway along which the school is located.
He called for road humps and zebra crossings along the road to reduce accidents.
She called for support to fully complete the JHS block which currently does not have windows and doors.
Nana Ansah Bediako
Nana Ansah Bediako XI, Odikro of Kobina Ansah, said the community appreciated the importance of education to the community’s development and would continue to support the efforts of the school’s management to get the youth of the community through school.
Madam Hope said the school management and its other stakeholders would work to ensure they brightened the corner where they were armed with hope, determination and hard work.
She said they would work to better the quality of the passes in the future and continue to build the confidence of pupils who pass through the school to be able to compete wherever they find themselves.
Master Isaac Baidoo, the school’s prefect, pledged on behalf of the pupils to support efforts to make the best out of them.
There is hope for Ghana’s public basic schools and the success of Kobina Ansah gives hope to rural schools.
Research into the quality of education indicated that the location of a school had an impact on the performance of the pupils.
The research into “Review of Basic Education Quality in Ghana” in 2009 indicated among others that pupils in schools with a population of 5,000 or more tended to score higher than students whose schools were located in smaller communities”.
The research stated that though the gap in rural-urban school performances had been mitigated, there still persisted disparities in performances.
The story of the Kobina Ansah school could be told and replayed in many of our rural communities to bridge the quality gap.
But for the time being, a hand of support and motivation would do the school a world of good.