Dear Emmanuel Kofi Akyere, You Will Go To Achimota

This week I am saying goodbye to the Effutu Municipal Assembly’s Director of Education, Mrs Hilda Eghan. She has been asked to take over as the Ag Greater Accra Regional Director of Education. I think she brought deeper dignity into the education office, and transformed the image of the schools in Winneba. Her elegance, deeper personal touch with the schools, and her desire for engagements, has been noticeable.

Kofi, I received your result sheet, as sent, and, my brother, you have renewed my energy in what is possible. You have proven that every one of us, regardless of riches or poverty, all of us can achieve the impossible.

Of course I know that the media is already saturated with corruption scandals, Ghana’s modern subculture; SSNIT here, Electoral Commission there, celebrating their rot, so little or no attention is being paid to the fact that the BECE results are out, and that the government of Ghana needs to release all the funds that the schools need in order to give meaning to the Free SHS project.

We are not paying attention to the Computerized Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), to ensure a smooth posting process. We are all following SSNIT and how they scammed themselves into recruiting a fake doctor, how they swindled themselves into purchasing a software that never worked.

Meanwhile some pensioners are receiving GHC104 as their monthly pension. Others are using the little they have in following up on a pension that does not exist. There are reports of those who went on retirement three years ago, but are still following up to know when they will receive their first pension allowance.

So you see, if educated adults who call themselves managers, if such people would spend $72million in purchasing a non existing software while pensioners are dying, why should I be bothered?

The truth is that, once they used a pen to steal the money, they can never be called armed robbers, so they would be freed. Maybe what you will have to do, when you grow up, is, to force them to hold guns and machetes, and then you take pictures with them, so that you can show the pictures as evidence that they are armed robbers, then the courts would jail them six months (only), for being educated and at the same time stealing. At least that will compensate for those cassava thieves who are jailed two years, do you get the joke?

 By the time we are done chasing after SSNIT and Electoral Commission’s money makers, the CSSPS managers would have been done with their mis-postings, and we will begin all over again, complaining of what was done wrongly.

Anyway, I have already given you the background of the setting up of the Challenging Heights school, your alma Mata, in this column, a couple of months ago, and, in that piece, I had stated that the school was set up primarily to support the education of children of illiterate parentage. That was the reason why you found it easy to secure admission when you were brought to class two.

As you remember, last year, the school was transformed from that low-keyed concept to a moderate level, a new concept which is now attracting additional children from highly educated parentage. Your seniors already produced three batches with 100% performance record, and that we were waiting for the results of your batch, and it was within this waiting period that I handed the school over to the Methodist Church. 

Kofi, don’t you think it is time we took a second look at public school teachers’ recruitment? And to assess how basic education could be decentralized, to empower the local people to participate in the decisions as to who become a teacher in their community school, and who cannot become a teacher?

Anyway, the BECE results are in, and as usual students and parents are in their moments, waiting to see what their children brought home, after several years of junior high schooling. I have seen your results, and a few of your mates, and I have no doubt that Challenging Heights school is, once again, racing home with 100% performance, a repeat of the previous records.

I will not go into the regular debates, of comparing public schools with their private counterparts, because no one would win that debate, that the public school teachers take far more salaries than the private school teachers, that you went to a private school and you were taught by mainly SHS leavers, as against public school teachers most of whom are now first degree holders, and that the only difference between the school you attended and those in the public, is effective supervision.

Kofi, I feel humbled to call you my friend. That day when you were narrating your story to me, I am sure you felt I was in tears. Yes, I was, and you earned so much respect from me.

Thank you for allowing me to put your story out here. You are an orphan, having lost both parents, but you are my greatest inspiration in recent times. It is not easy for a two year old to lose parents, and survive the trappings of life. Your illiterate caretaker cocoa farmer parents should be smiling by now, wherever they have found peace.

Before I proceed, I would like to congratulate your biscuit selling sister, for the support she has given you so far, since your parents passed. I will also like to congratulate your teachers at Challenging Heights, who encouraged you not to give up on life. Your sister, and your teachers have played a role in setting you up in your path of greatness.

Now here are your results as presented to me: English Language 1, Social Studies 1, Religious and Moral Education 1, Mathematics 1, Integrated Science 1, Information and Communication Technology 1, Fante 1, and Pre-Tech 1.

This is a result coming from a child who is an orphan, a child who nearly dropped out of school, a child who attended a school that is based in a deprived fishing community, with the children being taught by untrained SHS leavers, a child who attended the only school in Winneba which never applies any cane in disciplining children.

My brother, you are a testimony of resilience, a testimony of bravery, and perseverance. Otherwise how could a son of an illiterate caretaker farmer, whose only support came from his sister who sold a few biscuits on the roadside, a boy whose other siblings he hardly know what they do for living, a boy who saw BECE as an end to his education, this boy scores aggregate six, with all ones, in the face of mounting difficulties, with feeding, with clothing, with books, and with life; this is not miracle, this is determination, this is a testimony of endurance, the one that comes from where it came from.

When I saw the results sheet, I remembered how I had always lamented that I have been the only person of an illiterate parentage from that very community who had scored aggregate six with nine ones. My results have been a couple of decades ago, and I have always felt frustrated trying to support brilliant students to break that record.

Kofi, you have done what I thought was too far to come. You did not score nine ones, because your subjects are now up to eight. But you have done more than I could have done, you got all of them right, when I got 4 in Mathematics, you got one. You are a true legend in your own right, a testimony that the poor too can win.

When I placed my call to congratulate you, I was in awe of you. You are the greatest, and the most inspirational young man I have met in the last several years. I bow in adoration of you, my brother, you deserve a place in life. You have helped deepen the definition of faith, and you have erased the barriers that poverty presents on the way of the poor.

You have told me that you selected Achimota School for your secondary education. Very soon the CSSPS placement center will begin posting students. I know, over the years, the wrong things that have been happening at that center. So I know those who can pay will soon begin to manipulate their ways into the center, and begin another round of their magic, of erasing the names of students of poor parentage from their deserved schools, and replaced them with the wards of the highest bidders.

Trust me, anyone who attempts to deny you of your first choice school, Achimota Secondary School, will have to slaughter me first, before he could plant his filth. I will stand by you, I will continue to support you, and you will have your first choice school, Achimota.