The Technical school with a one-student department

Since his first day at the Amankwa Fisheries/Agricultural Technical Institute (AFATI), he has been a lone ranger in the Wood Construction Technology Department and indeed, has remained the only student in that department for the past three years.

Whereas in a normal classroom situation, students struggle to catch the attention of their class teacher, 21-year old Isaac Owusu is privileged to have two teachers at his disposal.

He sits face-to-face with a teacher anytime it is Wood Construction Technology period.

As Owusu just finished his final exams practical and will be writing his final examination early next month, the department may have to be closed down if the school is not able to attract any student.

No competition
Sharing his experience as the only student in a classroom in the presence of a teacher, Owusu said he sometimes felt demoralised but what kept him going was his ambition to make it in his chosen field.

Owusu, whose dream is to open a workshop in the future to enable him share with the next generation what he has learnt, said sometimes his teachers encouraged him by telling him that he was competing with them and if he did not work hard, they (the teachers) would overtake him.

He said his major challenge was the fact that all tools used for teaching and learning in the department, with the exception of the portable cross-cutting saw, had broken down.

Vision of AFATI
AFATI, a government-approved institution set up during the Acheampong’s Operation Feed Yourself era to train technical personnel in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to serve as extension officers to help farmers and fishermen, has woefully failed to deliver.

The entire school has a population of 52 students with 16 teachers, and offers Fashion Design Technology; Wood Construction Technology; Building Construction Technology and Electrical Installation Technology in addition to the four core subjects — Mathematics, English Language, Integrated Science and Social Studies.

The Agricultural and Fisheries Departments – the reason for the establishment of the institute – are not functional because the school lacks the requisite equipment to run those courses.

With the exception of a six- classroom block inaugurated by the late President J.E. Atta Mills in 2011 that seemed to have life on the campus, a visit to the school portrayed a place with wretched facilities, exposed cables, with the floor of the classroom deteriorated to the extent that it had developed ‘potholes.’

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