Vacation is here and many parents have been wondering where to hide their children as they are always running away from their children's disturbances at home. Those parents who are fortunate to have their "mama and papa" still around drive their children to ‘granny's end to have their vacation holidays there. The unlucky ones who lost their "parents" have no option than to bear with the challenge.
I remember growing up, during vacations, it was part of our schedules to spend some weeks with granny or get enrolled in what we called ‘vacation classes’; for the reason that, firstly, our mummy gets spared of our little fights and arguments and secondly to not forget what we studied at school as the ‘little fights and arguments’ could make the mind rusty by the time school resumes.
Summer school otherwise known as ‘vacation classes’ in our part of the world has not only been worthwhile to our parents in terms of not disturbing them at home during vacations but also to the students. Children (students) get to learn ahead of what they were taught, prepare themselves for the next term's coursework and also keep themselves updated as far as school is concerned.
The Ghana Muslim Academy seeing and knowing the importance of education took up this great initiative by organizing “vacation Classes” for the Junior and Senior High school students respectively without charging any fee. The organization’s educational initiatives started since 1995 and over 2000 students have benefited since its inception.
This year's vacation school (it became a school since 2007) organized by the Academy was no exception as it saw a total of 410 participants from all walks of life. 175 students out of this number are in the Junior High School and the Senior High School recorded 235. What was more intriguing was the seeming assimilation of the great words of Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey about the significance of girl-child education.
The gender distribution saw the girls more than the boys. The Junior High School saw 76 boys enrolling with 99 girls whilst the Senior High School had 92 boys and 143 girls. And this manifested itself in the performance as more ladies took prices for their outstanding performance in the various subjects more than the boys. They were given awards during the closing ceremony.
Deeply embedded in the activities of the vacation school was the weekly Guidance and Counseling Session which was aimed at improving standards in education.
One organization that featured prominently is the organization that played an instrumental role in the banning of tobacco-smoking in public spaces, Vision for Alternative Development. They educated the students on the dangers of smoking and gave them more insight into the subject by incorporating audio-visual materials in their presentation. Their team included two ladies from the United States of America.
One of the counseling sessions also featured Prof. Dr.Ahmed Osumanu Haruna, a Ghanaian lecturing in the Department of Crop Science at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He took the young ones through his journey as a young boy from a shanty town who struggled through life to put his head above the troubling waters. He underscored the fact that self-discipline was a cornerstone to his rise to an enviable stature now.
The crux of the Guidance and Counseling sessions was the attainment of self –discipline. And this was the watchword of the school as participating students were made aware that comportment is a pre-requisite in achieving excellence. The headmaster stated at the closing ceremony yesterday that they did not record any form of gross misconduct on the part of both students and teachers. There was effective teaching and learning and students were also advised to pick up the opportunity in developing themselves as far as education and knowledge acquisition is concerned.
The faces of the young ones were radiant with beams of smiles. One can surmise that they were filled with an overwhelming sense of confidence to brave the odds and face the next stage of their academic life with gusto and enthusiasm. Almost all those who were questioned on their aspirations in life mentioned lofty professions like medicine, law, accounting, engineering, journalism and a whole lot.
They were not made to leave without the fact drummed into their heads that they can be whatever they want to be. They were made to know that they may think they are insignificant but their bodies contain a whole universe in them. A universe of potentialities waiting to be used to by them to reach higher heights. The fact that was imparted in their souls is that “nothing is impossible when hearts and mind are put towards it.”
The closing ceremony was chaired by the Managing Director of Marhaba fm, Mr. Baba Sheriff Abdulahi. The occasion was also graced by ASP Sa-ada Mohammed, the lady Peace Officer whose diligence has challenged the assertion that its only men who could excel in the Police Administration. She offered her piece of advice to the young ones.
The program came to an end when students that performed very well were rewarded and presented with some awards.
The vacation school initiative under the auspices of the Ghana Muslim Academy is laudable. It serves as the "extra time" where students get to learn and do more out of what is being taught at their various schools. It is an avenue for the young ones to learn new things. It gives them better understanding of the coursework and also a place to explain to students better some of the topics they couldn't comprehend in their various schools.
The Ghana Muslim Academy must be commended in their efforts to instill discipline, the love of teaching and learning in their participants and going forward I pray some reputable companies and organizations follow their footsteps as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
We need knowledge to navigate our way through the vagaries of life. I wrote somewhere that Knowledge is a tool we can use to develop ourselves. Knowledge is needed to replace an empty head with a filled head. Knowledge is needed for better thinking. Knowledge is the tool we need to lift ourselves from the depths of obscurity to heights of development. It is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. It also a sword against the enemy.
Nelson Mandela drew the point home well for us. He stated that "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Let's change the world by putting up the necessary platforms to educate ourselves…”
God bless the Ghana Muslim Academy and all those who helped make it a success.
NB: Bushira Mohamed Zuka is a Communicator, Lover of feminism, Development advocate, Journalist and a Striving Muslimah.
Inusah Mohammed is a Youth-Activist and a Student of Knowledge.
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