The St Francis of Assisi Girls Senior High School at Jirapa in the Upper West Region has celebrated its 60th anniversary with a call on government to help solve the transportation, accommodation and toilet facility challenges to befit its status.
The school authorities and the St Francis Old Girls Association (FOGA) jointly organised the programme on the theme: “Sixty years of holistic girl-child education; a spring board to nation building”.
The Rev. Sister Martha Kello, the Acting Headmistress of the school catalogued the success stories of the school, which was established by the Catholic Church in 1959 by Rt Rev. Gabriel Champagne with the Late Peter Cardinal Porekuu Dery in collaboration with the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM), an International Women Religious Congregation instrumental in the establishment.
She said it was the third, but first girls second cycle institution in the Northern part of Ghana with its enviable motto: “Ad Veritatem Per Caritatem”, meaning, ‘To Truth Through Charity’, with the mission and vision to provide holistic education inspired by the Catholic values to nurture girls into women of dignity and productive citizens in an environment of discipline, unity and peace.
The Rev. Sister Kello said the school started with 12 girls and two staff members, which now has a student population of 1,215 with teaching staff strength of 80 and 47 non-teaching staff.
She added that the Computer School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) categorisation, which was introduced in 2009, placed the School on 58th position on the league table out of 478 senior high schools in the country and was placed under the category “A” schools indicating high level of commitment, determination and hard work of both students and staff.
The headmistress said the school performed creditably well in all subjects in the 2019 WASCE results than the 2018 with the overall percentage of 94 in 2019 as against the 78.1 per cent in 2018.
She commended Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, also an old student for donating a 33-seater bus to the school through the Jirapa Municipal Assembly to help solve the transportation challenges.
She said though the school received a bus, there was still the need for the government and other donors to help in the area of transport, accommodation and toilet facilities, which were major challenges for the students.
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the government made education a priority by introducing the Free Senior High School to enable every Ghanaian child have access to secondary education and advised the students to study hard to make the President and the nation proud.
“As someone who had my secondary education in this noble school, I am so proud to be here and even more happy to be a member of a government, which believes that every Ghanaian child must have access to secondary education no matter how poor the parents are and therefore introduced one of the most pro- poor policies in the world called Free Senior High School, which has led to about 65 per cent increase in senior high school enrolment from 2017 to 2019 so I encourage you to learn hard,” she said.