General News of Wednesday, 7 March 2018
A member of America’s Peace Corps in Ghana turned a rare spotlight on the Zanlerigu Senior High School, an institution considered the most deprived senior-level centre of learning in the Upper East region, by leading the school in Tuesday’s Independence Day parade.
The school looked forsaken and going nowhere when its authorities and some concerned natives of the Nabdam District, where it is located, organised a fund-raising durbar not too long ago to develop the institution and, disappointingly, the expected crowd did not show up.
But Diana Wurzer, an Information Communication Technology instructress at the school, was not ashamed to stand in public by a public second-cycle institution so infrastructure-bankrupt it cannot count beyond just one borrowed classroom block.
A weather condition many native Independence Day parade participants and observers complained was too harsh did not dissuade the light-skinned volunteer teacher from investing her time and comfort in doing what would advertise the school to the world. She stood patiently in a consuming sun as 840 pupils and students selected from 27 schools in the district waited for hours in front of their respective school banners in a colourful gathering before the march-past got underway.
She drew applause from traditional rulers among other guests and her school, coming into the limelight with her, stole the show when they marched ahead of the last school in the marathon queue, the Kongo Senior High School. Cheers from spectators soared as the school took its turn to salute the dignitaries who stood on a dais with the Nabdam District Chief Executive, Agnes Anamoo, to observe the procession.
“I’m actually the only female teacher at the school for now. I’ve been in Ghana for a year. It’s nice to see the whole district mingle together to see what the children are doing. It’s an honour to be part of it. Next time, I would like to have much time for rehearsal. They told me kind of late,” she told Starr News after the parade.
Diana Wurzer is probably the first white expatriate worker to take part in an Independence Day march-past in the history of that part of the country. The widely admired Peace Corps volunteer came to the parade ground already given a third name in the local Nabt language, “Zebremah”, by the people of Zanlerigu, the community the school is sited. That additional name means “an ancestress”.
School cries for dorm, office
The Zanlerigu SHS was established as the number of basic school leavers in the community grew with a pressing need to provide a senior high school within their reach.
It has remained stuck in a spare classroom block borrowed from the Zanlerigu Junior High in 2017. Students from afar are being housed in a makeshift dormitory donated by the Catholic Church Christian Mothers, according to the headmaster, Dominic Zuure. The school has only two sets of computers which were donated just this week by Nyeya Yen, a popular rural development advocate and native of the community.
“Upon a lot of consultations, the community had a bigger land size donated for the purpose of establishing the school as a permanent structure. We are working hard to get the documentation of that land through the district assembly so that in future, when we increase the intake, we’ll be able to house them in terms of classroom, dormitories and so on.
“Basically, we haven’t got a permanent classroom block. And once the community has got a land, we intend to carry out the building of a classroom block, a dormitory and an office structure for the teaching staff so that we can continue with the work. That’s what we have as an immediate need,” the school’s Board Chairman, Martin Dittoh, told the media at the disappointing fund-raising durbar.
We must not remain Beggars— DCE charges citizens
Agnes Anamoo, who is credited with introducing an early childhood centre at Zanlerigu as a teacher long before she became a District Chief Executive, was so let down about the fund-raising turnout that she laid bare her unhappy feelings to the press.
“I’m not happy because I thought all would have come out. We have 21 women groups, 7 youths and male groups in the community. It’s disappointing. We lost one of our young men. I think it has caused the crowd not being big. There will be a homecoming. We’ll give letters out for all to be here. People will support,” she said.
Tuesday’s celebration of Ghana’s 61 years of independence from colonial control in Nabdam saw the DCE speak strongly to the national theme for the event: “Putting Ghana Beyond Aid”.
“We want to build a Ghana that would properly manage its own resources as a way to bring about the desired social and economic growth to its people. We do not want to remain beggars of the world nor charity dependants.
“Old habits— such as absenteeism, lateness, laziness, dishonesty and unproductive use of working hours— must be broken. This calls for attitudinal change to our ways of doing things and that, once we change ourselves, there is no limit to what we can do. We must draw a stronger linkage between responsibility and growing opportunities,” she stressed.