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Regional News Fri, 7 Oct 2005

Science students selected on merit- Educationist

Sunyani (B/A) Oct.7, GNA- Mrs. Akua Debrah, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Education on Friday has dismissed allegations that she favoured and selected two Senior Secondary School students to join qualified candidates representing Ghana in an International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) competition in Indonesia.

Mrs. Debrah explained to Ghana News Agency that Seth Arthur, 15 and Victoria Owusuaa, 14, both science students and of Sunyani Secondary and Techiman Secondary Schools respectively, were selected by a special Science Technology and Mathematics Committee of the Regional Education Directorate.

She said the two students were chosen after they passed a selection test at the regional level and had already taken part in a national science test held on September 20 this year.

Six of them will be selected to represent the country at the international competition, which will take place between December 4 and 15 this year, Mrs. Debrah added.

The Regional Director debunked accusations of favouritism levelled against her and blamed Mr. Simon Anyokah Nyaaba, a Physics tutor at the Presbyterian Secondary School at Bechem, who doubles as the Regional Physics Panel Convener for Ghana Association of Science Teachers (GAST), for creating the problem in the run-up to the selection of students for the competition.

"I have not in anyway sought to abuse my office for personal gains or for reasons of cronyism as I have a hard won reputation to protect", she said.

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Mrs. Debrah referred to a letter dated August 31, 2005 and signed by Sophia G. Awortwi, Director, Science Education Unit of Ghana Education Service, to all Regional Directors of Education, requesting for the selection of students for the international competition. She questioned the authority of Mr. Nyaaba to select two students of Twene Amanfo Secondary Technical School to represent the region since he was not the person to do so.

The Regional Director also questioned the ages of these students who, she said, failed to submit their birth certificates as a necessary requirement demanded by the letter to confirm their age of not being more than 16 years by October this year.

Mrs. Debrah said, Mr. Nyaaba admitted the error at a meeting to sort out some inconsistencies that engulfed the selection process. When contacted, Mr. Nyaaba said he received a letter from Mr. E. Gyamenah of the National Computer Science Resource Centre, at a science teachers conference at Koforidua on September 3 this year requesting for the selection of students.

He explained that although the letter was addressed to the Regional Director of Education, it was given to him on the basis that he had organised a Regional Physics Talent Search in collaboration with the Regional Director and officers in-charge of science at the regional level.

Mr. Nyaaba added that, acting on the directive of Mr. Gyamenah, he presented the letter to the Registry of the Regional Education Directorate for onward submission to the Regional Director on the September 5.

The Regional Director of Education had then travelLed out of town so, "I left the letter at the Registry," he said.

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Mr. Nyaaba stated that he later made enquiries as to whether the, which proved futile so due to the limited time left - September 20, was the deadline for the screening exercise for the region - he wrote a letter on behalf of the Regional Director to some Senior Secondary Schools in the region. The schools included Our Ladies of Apostles Secondary School, St. James Secondary School, Sunyani Secondary School, Twene Amanfo Secondary Technical School, Notre Dame Girls Secondary School, Sacred Heart Secondary School, Nsoatre Secondary School and Wenchi Secondary School, all in the region to present two of their best science students for the final screening on September 15.

He said only the two students of Twene Amanfo reported for the final screening exercise on September 15.

Mr. Nyaaba further said two students representing OLA school had earlier reported on September 12 for the exercise but were asked to go back since that was not the day they and they never returned. He explained that he demanded for the birth certificates of the two students of Twene Amanfo who promised to provide them anytime the final selection was held.

He dismissed allegations of conniving with the parents of the two students to get the two students through the selection process. Mrs. Georgina Yiadom Boachie, Headmistress of Twene Amanfo when reached for her reaction, confirmed that two students of the school were dropped by the Regional Director of Education, citing reasons of inconsistencies in the mode of selection of the students for the competition. Oct. 07 05

Source: GNA