The History of Bolgatanga Girls Secondary School.
This school is one of the institutions that Routes students have attended. On my second visit to Ghana in 2013, I had the pleasure to tour the school campus, observe a class in session and meet with the Head of School.
I was struck by the large student population of over 1900 students..and yet I was impressed by the order in which all classes and sports activities were conducted. Classroom size is approximately 50 students per class. Cell phones are not allowed on campus! Imagine what would happen in US schools that attempted to enforce that policy!
The cafeteria kitchen staff were preparing lunch this day in a very very large pot over an open fire. Needless to say , it requires a lot of dexterity and awareness to keep safe and cook for this large school population.
Water is only available through one water pump. The girls assist in obtaining water for daily cleaning. Other water is supplied via truck to overhead storage tanks. There is a respect for this resource throughout the population. It made me think how little attention I pay to my daily unending ability to obtain and use water. Pumping and carrying your daily water has a way of slowing down the process and in this way adds a deeper understanding of this limited resource……Something my friends in Ghana are teaching me to appreciate.
So now I will give you a brief history of the school, it’s present status and some needs which I hope ROUTES supporters may consider in their upcoming donations.
Starting in the early 1950’s as The Bolgatanga Middle Boarding School for Girls, it later evolved into a Teacher Training College for Women. This transition was to accommodate the increased demand for teachers . The Advancement of the Government’s 1952 Accelerated Education Development Plan called for the creation of more primary and middle schools throughout the country. To accomplish this goal, more teachers need to be trained. In 1952, literacy rates were approximately 12% of the entire population and far less for the Northern Territories ,which includes Bolgatanga . As more teacher colleges emerged the school returned in 1980 to secondary education and was named Bolgatanga Girls Secondary School.
In the early 2000’s ,due in large part to political motivations, infrastructure and facilities were updated with the hope of improving and increasing quality and access to education in the rural areas. The results were a library,an upgraded student dining hall, a larger assembly hall, a computer science lab and improved dormitories. In doing this the government’s goal was to develop Bolgatanga Girls Secondary School into a model campus in the Northern region. (Please take a look at the photos showing these facilities.) Up to this point, education beyond middle school was still very scarce in this area. The majority of of families did and continue to live well below the poverty level, earning less than $1.00 per day or no more than $ 300 dollars per year. Enrollment today is amazingly about 2000 students . Only 1% of these students are able to attend university.As we have stated before in our materials the education itself is subsidized by the government but school fees for room ,board, uniforms and books are not covered. Even with these economic challenges parents work hard through the PTA to support the teachers and their needs and ensure that their children receive an education that can help to bring them job opportunities . Still some families cannot afford the added fee structure. This is where ROUTES steps in! Our support goes to the neediest of students, those who would never reach secondary school with out our help.
Today ROUTES is honored to have supported one of these students, Linda Wugaa, who now attends the University of Cape Coast’s Teacher Training College in Navrongo with support from our newly formed fund, The Donald Amuah Scholarship Fund. Linda is completing her second year in Cape Coast and will be our first student to be supported in secondary school that will go on to be our very first 2016 university graduate!!!
We continue to accomplish wonderful things for these students with your unending generosity.
Now comes the list of ways that you might consider to further help support this wonderful institution! All donations can be either mailed to Routes to Africa ,111 Coolidge Hill,Cambridge MA 02138 or you may donate online. Please specify the area you wish your donation to address . Thank you for your support !
1. 20 desk top computers to outfit a newly renovated computer lab. This would be a third lab for the 2000 students. They presently have 2 labs with a total of 40 computers…..$300 per computer.
2. A water overhead storage tank. To meet water needs the school could benefit from one additional water tank. $4000
3.The library could use more literature and text books. $1000
Look for my monthly blogs on the schools where our students study ,their successes and challenges.
Chris Bierbrier, President ,Routes To Africa