You are currently viewing SPEECH BY AKORFA AMA AKOTO, PRESIDENT OF SPRING-UP GLOBAL NETWORK AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE RENOVATED AGBEKOTSEKPO D/A BASIC SCHOOL LIBRARY ON 31ST MARCH, 2022.
Akorfa Ama Akoto delivering a speech at the inauguration of the Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School Libary

SPEECH BY AKORFA AMA AKOTO, PRESIDENT OF SPRING-UP GLOBAL NETWORK AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE RENOVATED AGBEKOTSEKPO D/A BASIC SCHOOL LIBRARY ON 31ST MARCH, 2022.

Mr. Chairman

The District Director of Education, Madam Harriet Lomotey

The Head Teacher, Mr. Joseph Danso

Parents Teacher Association

Chiefs

Community Leaders and Members

Members of Spring-UP Global Network

Donors and Partners of Spring-UP Global Network

Teachers

Students

Parents

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

All Other Protocols Duly Observed

Good Morning!

It feels so great to be here as we open the Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School Library renovated by Spring-UP Global Network, a not-for-profit organization promoting literacy and empowering disadvantaged children since it was established in 2019. I want to warmly welcome you all to today’s inauguration, especially the Shai-Osudoku District Director of Education, Madam Harriet Lomotey for taking time off her busy schedule to join us today. Once again, you are all warmly welcome.

Mr. Chairman, since 2019, SUGN has provided teaching and learning materials to seven (7) schools and orphanages in Central, Ashanti, Volta and the Greater Accra Regions of Ghana and has impacted a total of 2425 beneficiaries through 13 projects and 4 flagship programmes namely:

1. iRead iLead Campaign

2. Mentor Me

3. Back to School Drive

4. Jaa Ojoormo (Share Your Blessings – End of Year Christmas Party with Children)

As a network of young persons committed to promoting literacy and empowering disadvantaged children by providing mentorship and career guidance and creating secure and conducive quality learning environments, we launched the iRead iLead Campaign in January 2020. The iRead iLead Campaign is a 10-year strategic educational programme to improve literacy and encourage children to read. As part of our iRead iLead Campaign, we partner with schools each year to refurbish their school library. The school provides the empty room for the library project while as an organisation, we refurbish the space to a modern library for the school. The programme also includes a literacy programme where a reading club is established in the beneficiary school, with literacy events organised in partnership with the beneficiary school.

Since the launch of the campaign in January 2020, SUGN has refurbished 2 school libraries. The first was commissioned in February 2021 in Yevi D/A Basic School located in the Volta Region. Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School is privileged to be the second school to benefit from our iRead iLead Campaign.

Before I continue, let me remind us all of how we started this success story. In November 2021, we sent out a call for schools willing to have us renovate their school library. Our main criteria for selection was a school with a classroom space they were willing to make available to be refurbished into a modern school library. The school must also have one or two teachers who will coordinate the project and also coordinate the reading club to be launched through this programme. After a few days, we received a number of applications from schools. After weeks of a rigorous school selection process, our school selection team settled on Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School. However, after our first visit, we were met with a few challenges including the transportation challenge to the school and the need for an intense ceiling work for the library which took a huge chunk of our initial budget.

Although the past four months of work on this library project came with a number of challenges, we are all here today because we overcame all the challenges. At this point, I want to commend one special donor from Italy who supported this project with 64% of the total financial expenses. Special appreciation goes to the headteacher Mr. Joseph Danso, the 2021/2023 Lead for Ghana Fellows stationed at this school, the carpenter, painter and electrician whose suggestions, technical assistance and time have made this project a success. Permit me to also commend members of Spring-UP Global Network whose commitment and support over the past 3 years has brought us this far. 

In December 2021, the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education embarked on the first ever National Standardised Test (NST) for primary 4 pupils across all public schools in the country. According to the Ministry of Education, the NST which was taken in literacy and numeracy will help generate data on the performance of pupils in English Language and Mathematics.

As an NGO working in the education sector, we believe that making libraries available and accessible to children is a key step to improving literacy and supporting the Government’s efforts in bridging learning poverty in schools. Because of the school library and the reading club to be launched today, I am confident that in the next NST to be taken by primary 2, 4, and 6 students, our students from Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School will record improved performances in Literacy and Mathematics.

Earlier this year, Spring-UP Global Network was privileged to attend a stakeholder meeting between the Ministry of Education and NGOs working in the education sector. The Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum commended NGOs for the key role they play in supporting the Ministry of Education to address the learning gaps. Through this project, we are glad that we are augmenting the efforts of the Government to promote literacy and address learning gaps.

During one of my visits to the school, the Headteacher, Mr Danso explained how literacy in English forms the bedrock on which an excellent academic performance in all other subjects is built and I am excited that through the provision of this school library and the reading club, we will build and improve literacy levels in this school.

Our main aim for embarking on this project is to improve literacy rates in primary and Junior High Schools, however, we are glad that through this project, we provided job avenues for artisans from this community who worked on the project including the carpenter, painter and the electrician.

Before I conclude, once again, join me say Ayekoo to our donors and partners, members of Spring-UP Global Network, the headteacher and his Assistant, Teachers, 2021/2023 Lead for Ghana Fellows stationed in this school, the carpenter, painter, electricians and everyone whose support has made the renovation and inauguration of the Agbekotsekpo D/A Basic School a success.

Indeed, children should have the best chance at succeeding in life no matter the community they grow up in. This is why I am confident that this library and the reading club will be a game changer in the delivery of teaching and learning in this school. I am also hopeful that as we at Spring-UP Global Network make our routine visits to the school in the coming months, we will still find that the beauty of the library is maintained and the reading club is making reading exciting for the over 300 children in the school.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the first part of the work is complete but we have much more work ahead of us after today. I call on all stakeholders of education in this community including teachers and parents to ensure that the library and the reading club that will be launched today achieves its purpose. I am a big believer in collective effort and sustainable impact. This is why I want to remind each one of us to continuously play our unique roles as stakeholders in education so that this school library and reading club will impact many children who enrol in this school.

Together, we will nurture tomorrow’s informed leaders through effective reading.

I thank you for your attention.

Akorfa Akoto

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