Royal Academy Preparatory & Junior High School, Wusuta (Ghana, West Africa)
How Royal Academy Started
In 2006, Reverend Father Isaac Benuyenah travelled to Canada and worked in the towns of Edam, Cochin Jackfish, and Glaslyn (near North Battleford in Saskatchewan) as a Catholic pastor. He wanted to raise money for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the Kpando Municipality, since he had previously funded their education off books he had written. Fr. Isaac collected cans, bottles, and tetra-paks in Canada and recycled them. In five months, he raised $2,000 CAD from these bottle drives.
When he returned to Ghana in 2007, however, Fr. Isaac realized the need for a private school in Wusuta. Parents enrolled their children in private schools in Vakpo and Anfoega, since they perform better than public schools. These children have to walk 10-20 kilometres a day, under the hot sun or in the rain, just to get to school and back home. The toll on these children and the cost to their parents deeply affected Fr. Isaac.
By consulting with his Local Ordinary and the Regional Manager of Catholic Education, Fr. Isaac met with key stakeholders in the Church and the Wusuta community to discuss this issue. A decision was made to establish a private school in the community which would provide education to the HIV/AIDS orphans as well as other vulnerable children in Wusuta.
With the $2,000 CAD that Fr. Isaac raised, a four-unit classroom block was built along with 80 dual desks, and the needed textbooks were purchased within three weeks. On September 10, 2007, Royal Academy School opened with 21 pupils, three teachers and one financial clerk. Presently, the school has 260 pupils from Kindergarten to Junior High School Form Three (or Grade 9). There are 15 permanent staff members and two long-term volunteers from Germany.
Royal Academy’s Objectives
The principal aim of Royal Academy is to develop excellent graduates who are academically and morally sound, with the following objectives:
1. provide holistic and quality education that will emphasize high moral/Catholic principles and academic excellence as an alternative for children in and around Wusuta
2. create an enabling educational environment for children that would put them on the same academic level as their counterparts in the city schools
3. bring affordable private education to the doorsteps of parents and children who would have otherwise travelled long distances.
The above objectives are achievable through
1. employing qualified and disciplined teachers
2. providing quality supervision and monitoring of both teacher and student performance
3. creating a disciplined environment that will help prepare students for their external examinations, thus enabling them to easily gain admission to Senior High Schools in Ghana.
The school currently has 11 classes (Kindergarten 1&2, Primary 1-6, and Junior High Forms 1-3), but only 8 classrooms. The three classes that do not have a classroom hold their sessions in the uncompleted basement of the new classroom block, which is still under construction. None of the classrooms at the school have plastered walls, nor are they painted. The corridors also require concrete floors since they become very dusty.
Financial Assistance to Brilliant and Needy Pupils
With financial assistance from benefactors, the school awards scholarships to 22 brilliant and needy pupils every term. Five HIV/AIDS orphans and eight other orphans in the school are included in this scholarship package.
Though the school is just six years old, the first Junior High graduates wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in 2011 and all passed. In 2012, the Junior High graduates again all passed, placing Royal Academy in the sixth position out of 60 schools in the Kpando Municipality. It is currently the best Junior High School in Wusuta.
Administration (in the ‘About’ section)
The School Management Committee (SMC) is the Management Body responsible for making and implementing major decisions of the school, including its governance, growth and welfare. The Parents’ and Teachers’ Association (PTA) helps the SMC in the implementation of matters that affect pupils, parents and projects. These two bodies decide the fees to charge, the dress code, and the discipline in the school. The Headmaster and the other members of staff execute the daily administration duties of the school.
Royal Academy Volunteers
In the past six years, the school has played host to both national and international volunteers. The first volunteers came from Canada in 2009 and stayed for two weeks. The African Center for Peace Building sent a group of students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (Kumasi) and the University of Ghana (Legon) to teach voluntarily at the school from May to the end of July 2010.
The third group of volunteers, German “Weltwärts” (formerly, “German Development Service”), arrived in the school in September 2010 and left in August 2011. Another two replaced them from September 2011 to August 2012. The current German volunteers arrived in September 2012 and are due to leave in August 2013. On June 24, 2013, three volunteers from Canada also joined the staff for two weeks.
This intercultural cooperation between Royal Academy Preparatory & Junior High School and thee volunteer groups have helped improve the school’s reputation, international relationship, and positively enhanced the image of the school. This cooperation has brought an understanding of world cultures to the school and the entire village of Wusuta.
Ongoing Development Projects
1. There is an urgent need for new classrooms. The foundations of a 19-unit classroom complex are currently under construction. The block-laying of the basement is complete though not furnished. Work began on the ground floor in July 2013.
2. A plastic tank (polytank), which can store 700 liters of water has been purchased and installed.
Need Areas of the School
1. The classroom complex: The most pressing need of the school is to complete the 19-unit classroom complex as soon as possible.
2. ICT lab and library: The increasing number of pupils make it necessary to have a library and an Information/Communication & Technology (ICT) Laboratory, both of which have been included in building plans for the newest complex.
3. Electricity: Through the benevolence of some volunteers, the school has been connected to the national electricity grid, which extended light to two classrooms. We are soliciting for funds to do the same in other classrooms. Providing light to the other classrooms will cost about GH 5,200 Cedis, or approximately $2,667 CAD.
3. Restrooms: The school lacks a modern toilet facility. Both teachers and pupils use a pit latrine, which is unhygienic.
4. Learning materials: The school needs textbooks (especially English Readers), desks, and other teaching and learning materials. GH 180 Cedis (approximately $92 CAD) can provide all the text books of a JHS 1 (Grade 7) student. A desk for a student costs GH 80 Cedis (approximately $41 CAD).
5. Computers (new and/or used): A new desktop computer and a used one cost about GH 600 Cedis and GH 200 Cedis, respectively, or $308 and $103 CAD.
6. An Overhead Polytank for storing water: A plastic tank which can store 1500 liters of water at the school costs GH 3,500 Cedis (approximately $1,795 CAD).
7. Volunteers: We need volunteers who would stay for at least a year to teach and/or render other related services.
8. Scholarships for needy and brilliant students: It takes GH 258 Cedis (approximately $132 CAD) in this 2012/2013 academic year to educate a pupil in Royal Academy.
Message from Fr. Isaac
We solicit assistance from individuals, corporate organizations, societies, clubs, groups, associations, Churches, foundations, school, etc. We believe we can and we will reach our goals through your generous assistance in kind and/or cash. If you are touched by this passionate appeal, you may donate a “Shoe Box” during the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities to Royal Academy Preparatory & Junior High School, Wusuta (Ghana), or bequeath something in kind and/or cash to the school, or leave a testament for it. The school has an account at the Credit Union in Edam (Canada) where you can send your donations to.
Contact Royal Academy
You may contact the school through the following addresses:
Ms. Jeanette Gorski
Royal Academy Preparatory & Junior High School, Wusuta
Christ the King Parish, P.O. Box 422
Edam, SK, S0M 0V0
Tel: 001-306-397-2828 / 001-306-892-4312
Royal Academy Preparatory & Junior High School, Wusuta (Ghana)
P.O. Box 9, Vakpo, Volta Region
Ghana, West Africa
Tel: 00233 (0)249535471 / 00233 (0)206586836