The introduction of the free Senior High School policy by the government has saved the three main High Schools in the Asikuma, Odoben Brakwa District of the Central Region from imminent collapse.
The three schools are; Breman Asikuma SHS, Odoben SHS and Brakwa Senior High Technical School.
The population of the schools took a nosedive as many JHS graduates in the catchment area could not continue to High School.
The inability of many JHS leavers to further their education was simply due to the inability of parents to afford their wards’ admission fees and subsequent school fees.
This was made known by the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District Chief Executive, Mr Isaac Odoom, during a press briefing where achievements of the government were highlighted.
Available statistics shown by Mr Odoom indicated that as at 2016, the total population of the three Senior High Schools in the district stood at 1,670.
Following the introduction of the free SHS policy, however, enrolment increased to 2,160 in 2017 and witnessed a further increase in 2018, with a population of 3,922.
In an unprecedented manner, the population of the three schools reached an all-time record high of 5,452 students in the 2019 academic year.
“In the past, teachers used to visit the homes of parents and beg them to send their wards to school in order to save the schools from collapse”, Said Mr Odoom.
The parents, he noted, were willing to send their wards to school but they simply did not have the financial capabilities to carry out their will.
During the presentation, it came to light that the Asikum-Odoben-Brakwa District Assembly has embarked on several infrastructural initiatives aimed at improving education in the district.
The Assembly has constructed a 3-unit classroom block at Brakwa Eshiem Basic School and a 2-unit KG block at Asikuma Catholic Boys School.
A 6-unit classroom block at Benin has been renovated while a 3unit block with an office is currently under construction at Odoben SHS.
A 6-unit school block has been built at the Odoben Presbyterian Basic School while a 2-unit KG block at Breman Bedum has been renovated.
At Breman Jamra, the construction of a 6-unit block is underway whereas at Akroma, a 2-unit KG block has been built. A 2-unit KG block being constructed at the Odoben Catholic School is at the roofing stage.
Mr Odoom told the gathering that 50 Students were supported to pay their school fees at the tertiary level in 2017.
“There were 23 beneficiaries of Government Scholarship supported at the cost of GHS 55,459.54”, he added.
School feeding programme
Between 2017 and 2019, schools benefiting from the school feeding programme have been increased from 15 to 52 where over 9,922 children receive daily meals at school.
Mr Odoom noted that monitoring and evaluation was key to improving the standard of education in the district, but the district education office, he noted, was handicapped.
To address the situation, the Assembly has procured a total of six motorbikes for the district education office to be used by officers for monitoring purposes.
Water and sanitation
The AOB District Assembly has put in place measures to improve the supply of potable water to the constituents to mitigate the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
As part of the measures, mechanised boreholes have been constructed in twelve communities with funding from Quarter Charity. The communities are Ankaase, Okukrom, Asebien, Kokodo, Asikuma NVTI and Kwaanan.
The rest are Eduakoraa, Amanor CHPS, Otabilkwaa, Jamra cluster of schools, Fankyenko and Asikuma Methodist School.
A quarterly clean-up exercise that is meant to clean the entire district, rid the area of filth and other improper sanitation conditions, have been instituted by the assembly.
During the exercise, choked gutters are desilted, bushy areas are cleared while it is also used to sensitise the citizenry to keep their surroundings clean.
The desire of the AOB District Assembly to end open defecation in the district has seen the Assembly instituted measures to curtail the menace.
A 10 seater W/C toilet facilities are being constructed at Breman Brakwa, Nankese, Agona Odoben and Breman Anwhiam.
In line with the vision of the DCE to improve the health of the constituents, the District Assembly has supported the health directorate to operationalise a polyclinic at Jamra. Additionally, ten new CHPS compounds have been operationalised in the district to improve access to quality health care delivery.
They are at Benin, Afofosu, Asarekwa, Tweredua, Attudauda, Ohianhyeda, Edumanu, Ankaase, Essumangwira and Asempanaye, while clinical apparatuses have been donated to the Brakwa health centre.
According to Mr Odoom, the MP for the area has supplied power generating plant to Agona Odoben health post, while the AOB office of the NHIS Scheme had received a brand new Nissan Pickup for it operations.
Under the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) programme, 865 individuals have been equipped with skill development training. 120 artisans have received NVTI Certification whereas additional 26 have benefited from the provision of Start-Up Kit (Carpentry, Masonry, Poultry, Piggery Sty, Grasscutter & Baking).
Under the same BAC initiative, a loan facility amounting to GHC523,700 has been disbursed to 150 MSE holders in the district.