First things first: I am a Ghanaian.
It’s not just home for me, it’s who I am.
I was born and raised in the Volta Region, I have had the privilege of attending schools, but Bishop Herman College, located on the heels of Kpando in the Volta Region, had impacted me more than any school. In fact I am proud of my alma mater.
The best friends I have made in life, I made at BH, the best moments of my life I had at BH.
Two weeks ago, the West African Examination Centre (WAEC), released the list of schools in Ghana, based on how they performed in the 2013 The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), It made interesting reading and revelation, as schools that hitherto were considered under privileged, low class, second rated etc, emerged from the shadows to beat schools that were first class, best with big names, and parents, as well as their wards fall over each other to gain admissions into them.
The Computer School Selection and Placement System is yielding results, years after its implementation. The computer is SHARING the brains—killing protocol admissions excellent grade preference for some schools.
My school, Bishop Herman College was not the best in the list, but we made a remarkable showing, out of the 716 schools, we placed 23, ahead of Mfantsipim in the Central Region and Pope Johns Senior High School another Catholic School in the Eastern Region, not to talk of Achimota School and Legon Presec.
We are underrated and undervalued. If history is anything to go by, we placed first once upon a time in West Africa, not in Ghana, but the whole of West Africa, that is a story that we got told over and over again, whilst in school.
We have been there before, we have achieved and made history, if only we would have carried the torch passed on by our predecessors, perhaps we will have done better than 23.
My biggest disappointment, however, is the performance of Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Volta Region.
If there is anything worth celebrating and acknowledging, it is the fact the Volta Region, have always placed premium on education. The towns and villages are littered with schools, from primary, junior High Schools (JHS) and SHS.
Anytime school reopens and I am in a bus to school, one thing that amazes me is the number of schools; I get to count before reaching Kpando. My people love education, but after careful perusal and scrutiny of the list released by WAEC, the next school after Biheco placed 65 and that is Ntrobuman Senior High School, which school is this, I asked myself. This is a school who’s uniform, crest and location is as unknown to us, just as the flag of Crimea in Washington.
We are still the undisputed champions of the Volta Region.
On the overall performance of schools based on Regions, Volta Region did worse. This is my conclusion, not that of WAEC.
I asked myself why?
Growing up in the Volta Region, apart from Biheco, which I relished attending, the following schools got my attention, because I had some friends and relatives attend. Mawuli SHS, Ola Girls and Kpando SHS.
Now let see how this schools fared.
Keta Secondary School (KETASCO)-88
Our neighbors and rivals Kpando Secondary School (Kpasec)-183
Our wives Ola Girls-159
St Mary’s Seminary-209
If these schools are among the best schools not only in the Volta Region, but Ghana, then we need to ask ourselves what went wrong.
We have all agreed that Government alone cannot fund education, stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, old students etc have equal stake in the improvement of education. It is increasingly clear and apparent that our people have not done enough to uplift and promote education in the Region.
Comparatively, when you meet hear of contributions of former students from other schools in other regions, you want to bow down your head in shame. To think that after 60 years of the establishment of a school like Bishop Herman, the only bus the school has is a 33-seater bus. As part of the 62nd
Speech and Prize Giving Day, the school is appealing to old students to help buy a bus to augment the old one.
I have a great admiration for Father Paul A. Agbodza. A former student himself, he has strived after becoming the Headmaster to ensure that the school returns to it past glory, and what a way to achieve that than to be 23 out of the 716 SHSs in Ghana.
Bishop Herman or Lakeside College, as we used to refer to is a school among schools, your first day in school and you wish you never chose the school, but as time wears off; you begin to realize that it is the best thing that could ever happen to you.
The late Rev. Father Danso, popularly known as “Risky”, will make your stay on campus a missed blessing. He never compromised on discipline; even School Prefects were not spared his canes. You never notice his movements, he just appears anytime, you are doing something untoward. Those were the days when school was school, always looking forward to going back to school.
All the Headmasters, who came after him, also left their mark. The school will be forever be grateful for their contributions.
The school had produced exemplary personalities, who have contributed immensely to the development of this country.
General (RTD) Arnold Quainoo, told me of a story of Hon. Fiifi Kwetey, when at Achimota School, after having had his O-Level at Bishop Herman, enrolled to have his Sixth Form. He will at every Speech and Prize Giving Day, sweep all the awards. He barely sits and he is called back to the podium, to pick another award. This is the school I am talking about.
In essence, I am very Proud of Bishop Herman College, no matter what, I say SICUT MILES CHRISTI, “ As Soldiers of Christ”
Prof. Lade Worsonu, a prominent figure on the Ghanaian literary and academic landscape, being an essayist and columnist on a range of health issues in Ghanaian papers says it clearly: “the master brewer is not the stars or yet the gods—it is you, your very self.” Hold your school! Be Proud, I am proud.
Till next year, when we place first, which I am hopeful of, know that Bishop Herman College is the school.
By Abdul Razak Bawa