Schools such as Holy Child, St Mary’s, Aburi Girls, Tamasco, Labone, Mfantsipim, GSTS – Takoradi, Ghana Secondary – Koforidua, Mawuli Secondary, (to name but a few) were all comparatively good schools. What has happened to all these schools and why does the pressure seem to be only on Wesley Girls Senior High School (aka – Wey Gey Hey)?

Wesley Girls
Wesley Girls
Are all these other schools satisfied with the numbers they were given? Do they all have the required facilities to take care of any increased numbers or are their heads simply not bothered about the overcrowding the government and GES is creating in many such schools? WGHS head’s defiance with her bosses not to be bullied into doing what is wrong may be one of the reasons why the school continues to be a sought after school. They have a head who refuses to tow the line when it is not right. A head prepared to stand up and fight for the students as well as the very parents who are fighting her so hard to have their children admitted.

Any old girl who has visited the school recently and witnessed the overcrowding and congestion would confirm how horrendous and unacceptable the situation is. Diseases can spread rapidly in that environment and even with their fire drill and security precautions (they have had to add all these on because of the dangers of the congestion) it certainly is not good practice and not for a school that is churning out future leaders of the country.

I remember some 40 years ago when I was offered a place at the school. I had been turned down at the face to face interview that year but promised an interview waiver if I passed again the following year, (1970).

It was a wonderful mix of students; some from small towns and villages I had never heard of and others from cities and plush backgrounds.

I myself was from a small school at New Tafo, Akyem. Very quickly, it was clear that ones background was not as important as the status of their brain as one could be from Tafo, a place many did not know about, and have a high class brain. Thus, the recent talk by some that Wey Gey Hey is an elitist school can be a positive affirmation that the school rather turns out future leaders who give of their best in whatever position and situation to deserve the accolade or recognition of an “elite” of society.

WGHS has continued to excel in what it was set up to do and that is why many still want to be admitted there or be associated with excellence. However, the school is where it is not because governments have invested massively in it or provided all they need when they needed it.

A number of things have helped to make the school what it is and this is what I believe the ministry of education could help others adopt some of these ideas to grow facilities similar if not better than WGHS. For a start, there are two previous heads of WGHS plus heads of other very good schools on pension but still in the country. So, what stops us from tapping the expertise of such people even if they are on pension? Most people are at their peak and professional best by the time they turn 60, bagging a sea of experience, skills and knowledge at what they do.

Inviting these skilled pensioners to offer their services for another few years to help set up schools similar to or surpassing WGHS, I believe, is an honour past heads are unlikely to turn down. I once met a friend’s father in Canada on pension from the Ghana Education Service. He was such a wealth of knowledge, a walking encyclopaedia on education issues and somebody, I concluded in my simple mind, could have continued to be of great benefit to the country. He was offered a position in some educational institution in Hamilton, Canada.

WGHS continues to flourish because Old Girls as heads, have a vested interest in the progress of the school in the national interest. I was quite impressed when I discovered the level of orientation designed for new teachers and even incidental staff.

First year students receive systematic support to help them blend in and settle comfortably. A relaxed and safe environment is first created for them to enable them feel at peace and ready to study and absorb knowledge. Prefects know their limits and are given the mandate to do their work without interference from teachers or those in authority.

Students are encouraged to apply the motto of the school, speak true, live pure, right wrong and follow the King (God) to their everyday activities. Recently graduated students are invited to talk to new entrants and mature Old Girls talk to final year students ready to graduate. The school arranges a range of talks from Old Girls in different professions as well as talks on communication and how to cope with the freedom of being out of school.

Recently, the headmistress decided to set up a crèche and early years centre to cater for the many young parents she identified as teachers in the school. Travelling away from the school to drop children off at centres off campus can affect teachers timekeeping and attendance. These interventions and many other such innovative practices provide teachers, students and other staff with confidence and some peace of mind to focus on the education of the young people entrusted in their care.
In addition to implementing policies that allow a more disciplined environment and smooth running of activities, Old Girls of the school continuously make huge inputs into the school.

20 years after leaving school, each year group sponsors the speech and prize giving day and as part of their activities would take on a project to meet a need of the school. Some of the projects have included a complete refurbishment of chemistry laboratories, renovation of the sickbay, installation of a borehole, water purification plant, renovation of the old assembly hall, a pick up vehicle and many others that have helped the school to continue to run efficiently. After 40 years, each year group would again take on new projects in the school.

Many Old Girls take these projects seriously and raise thousands of cedis to accomplish their targets. In addition, some individuals dedicate time and personal resources to support the school; assisting with counselling, providing free medicines and generally making themselves available when needed.

So, there are many things happening that has made the school what it is that has very little to do with support from governments. Two of the major projects by government, a classroom block and assembly hall cannot be used because they are both structurally defective.

I wonder whether the GES has ever commissioned any studies to find out why some schools continue to excel and others are going down in spite of the fact that they all receive the same resources from government.

More WGHS could be created if those in authority have an interest to do so. Why place so much pressure on one school when there are others and opportunities to develop schools to similar standards? Didn’t the government promise us 200 modern senior high schools? Why can’t we learn from WGHS and other such schools and develop a set of good practice standards to get these schools started on the best practice with the benefit of hindsight?
Maintaining excellent schools should be part of every country’s goals. Why allocate much more vacancies than a school requests for when you know clearly they do not have the facilities to handle that number? What is the purpose of filling the school with poor grade students if not to pull down its performance?

The headmistress refuses to accept the wards of active Old Girls with poor grades so why should GES push poor grade protocol students on the school and expect them to do magic each time? The headmistress has finally done the right thing by putting her foot down and sending a message to those invisible forces who do not seem to have any interest in developing and maintaining excellent schools in the country.
It is within the power of government and the ministry of education to create more schools of excellence in the country and stop pushing heads, teachers, parents and students to develop pressure related illnesses to add to the already beleaguered health system.

I take this opportunity to call on all Old Girls, heads of schools and all those with a love for quality education in the country to support the headmistress’ action and make the government sit up to its responsibilities of creating more schools of excellence. We must tafiakwa (reject) the imposition and breeding of mediocrity in all its guises.

Ewurakua Owusu/WGHS/ 1975 Year Group
0244028346
[email protected]

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