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Stop politicising education - Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Emeritus Archbishop Peter Akwasi SarpongEmeritus Archbishop of Catholic Church, Peter Akwasi Sarpong, has appealed to politicians to stop politicising education and always place  the interest of the child far above their political interests.

He stressed that  “educating  children and  liberating  them from ignorance is too precious to be politicised” .

Addressing the Silver Jubilee celebration of Bishop Sarpong International Junior High School (JHS) at Tarkwa-Maakro in Kumasi, Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong said  “since ignorance was as evil as physical hunger, it was important for all stakeholders to join hands to promote quality education at all levels”.

The Bishop Sarpong International JHS, which was the initiative of Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong and established in 1985 with 60 pupils, now has a student population of 700.

The school, which is considered one of the best in the Ashanti Region in terms of good morals of past and present students, and excellent academic performance over the years, has produced many graduates, including medical officers, pharmacists, mechanical engineers, nurses and teachers.

The Silver Jubilee celebration of the school, was used to raise funds in aid of a school bus.

Speaking on the theme “ 25 years of academic excellence; the role of Bishop Sarpong International  School”, Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong said certain decisions in relation to education had lowered and undermined  the progression of sustainable quality education at all levels in the country.

He questioned the essence of  using computerisation to admit students to senior high schools (SHSs) and said it had brought so much  trauma to  parents and students alike and, therefore, urged the government to review it with urgency.

He also questioned the essence of  the educational reforms introduced into the country, which, he said, had had little impact on standards of education, and why the four-year duration of the SHS was reduced to a three-year period , and pointed out that  the decision had lowered the progression of academic standards at  all levels.

He said the universities spoke vehemently against the reduction in the four-year term to the current three-years, “teachers themselves detested it, the ordinary Ghanaian rejected it, and the Church abhorred it, yet politicians went ahead and implemented such unpopular decision”.

According to Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong, the Catholic Church had over the years  considered education as a necessary tool that could be used to uproot ignorance from society and holistically built the capacity of the youth, as well as offered them employable skills.

“That is why the Church had always  been at the forefront of establishing schools at the basic, second cycle and tertiary levels, as well as instituting measures that would promote good morality and academic excellence among students,” he explained.

He said the time had come for politicians to depoliticise education, and rather “consider the interest and future of our children by placing premium on measures that would adequately raise and sustain high academic standards,” .

“Catholic education had always been holistic since the Church was first established in Ghana in 1880. This is because we do not only nurture our students for them to acquire good morals and positive attitudes, but also motivate them to develop their potential and build their capacity more meaningfully,” he said.

He said it was for that reason that Catholic schools had always been ranked among the best schools in the country and regarded as schools of choice.

In his  welcome address, the Local Manager of Bishop Sarpong JHS, Rev. Fr. Louis K. Tuffuor, recounted the contributions of Emeritus Archbishop Sarpong to the school over the years and pledged  to continue  instituting measures that would make the school an excellent school of choice in the Kumasi Metropolis.

He said  students had since 2005, excelled in their basic school examination.

“In 2011 our school’s performance was so significant that we were included in a special selection of eligibility for the National Education Awards 2011, he noted.

A citation was presented to Emeritus Sarpong for  his tremendous contributions to the institution, since its establishment.

Story: George Ernest Asare