· MOBA National rises to the occasion
The essence of the free senior high school is to offer as much secondary education as possible to Ghana’s teeming youth. The example I know of personally is the U.S. education system where I taught for many years. Education is free from first grade (about age six years) up to the senior high school (about age eighteen). Breakfast and lunch are equally free on school days.
But free elementary and secondary education come at a cost. The Americans take care of that cost through a most efficient collection and targeted use of property taxes. Every house is numbered and registered in the city, county and state records with the name of the property owner(s). Each owner is served with a property tax bill once every year, with an allowance made for two equal installment payments. If the owner reneges on a payment, the house may be foreclosed and forfeited. That’s how serious they get!
Alumni and PTAs
When the Free Senior High School (FSHS) was introduced, I wrote in this column (“How alumni and PTAs must support the Free SHS,” October 2, 2017) the following: “In a way, it’s as if the nation has become so accustomed to being aloof that the sight of children dropping out of school in such huge numbers have produced no effect whatsoever on the adults in the society though a good number glorify themselves in churches and mosques every single week.”
On that note, it pays to see how some alumni have taken on the responsibility to help their old schools; they need to be commended. The Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA), for example, convenes a yearly conference that attracts old boys to come together, exchange ideas, and agree on how best to contribute to the progress of the School.
We met Saturday, March 14, 2020, at the Ridge Church Hall, Accra. The following is an edited progress report by the Ebusuapanyin Capt. (Ret) Paul Forjoe:
The MOBA National
We anticipate five distinct new buildings in the school. These are two 2-storey dormitory blocks, two 2-Storey classroom blocks (with 12 classroom units), and the new Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) laboratory. Each dormitory block may accommodate 440 students, and 2-bedroom master’s apartment, a common room, box room, ironing room and washrooms.
In providing for another 880 boys, we plan to expand the Dining Hall and seriously consider the construction of a new 5,000-seat Assembly Hall. We are still working on the launch of our much-awaited Endowment Fund. Our launch target amount is still GhS6 Million. The proposed launch date for inaugurating the Fund will be announced in due course.
Supporting Year Groups (SYGs) have since 2016 been required to contribute 10% of their project cost to the Endowment Fund in part as their contribution towards the maintenance of the project. The largest contribution to the Fund was $100,000 from a MOBA 76.
FACELIFT – 2019
All the roads in Mfantsipim were asphalted in the first half of last year. MOBA 79 requested that their washrooms located behind Freeman Aggrey be refurbished and fully functional before Speech day as it would mean a lot to their members to return to the school to find their project built a decade before still functional.
The facelift project consisted of painting all the dormitory blocks, the infirmary, the dining hall, the new multipurpose building, the prayer chapel, all the academic block buildings and Saint Patrick’s building. The project included changing the dining hall netting and the refurbishment of both the 79 washrooms and the academic site toilets.
To modernize teaching and learning, MOBA – spearheaded by Seth Ahene of MOBA 76 – has initiated an E-Learning project at the School. The E-Learning project is based on formalized teaching but with the help of electronic resources. While teaching can be based in or out of the classrooms, the use of computers and the Internet form the major component of E-learning. E-learning may also be termed as “a network enabled transfer of skills and knowledge, and the delivery of education made to a large number of recipients at the same or different times”.
The project infrastructure consists of an HP ProLiant DL 380 Gen 9 server with 8TB of Hard Disk Space at the new library block. There are WIFI devices connected to the server within the academic site. The laboratories and the new classroom block at the former Junior Field also have WIFI access.
For a full rollout, there are sixty-eight classrooms, science labs and workshops that must be equipped with cameras, LED projectors and screens, video recorders, laptops, etc.
Wiring of all 8 classrooms in the Form 1 block has been completed. Security of the classrooms enhanced. All these classrooms will have their full complement of projectors, cameras etc installed soon.
When completed this project will benefit not only Mfantsipim but other schools in the Cape Coast catchment area. We will start a separate fund-raising drive for this great endeavour.
SCIENCE LAB EQUIPMENT
In 2016, through the effort of MOBA, and other support partners, the refurbishment of the 50-year old Senior Science Laboratory was funded. In 2018 the MOBA supporting year groups totally refurbished the Junior Science Laboratory at a cost of about Gh¢1,100,000 as their project for the year.
MOBA National and some notable old boys have purchased the science equipment, cleared them through the ports and will present them to the School at the appropriate time. MOBA Council has requested the review of its 7-year Strategic Plan and will consider the reviewed plan, hopefully, at its third meeting in 2020. As part of last year’s Speech Day, the multipurpose building was named after Kofi Annan.