Bawumia graces Fijai SHS 70th anniversary celebration
Bawumia graces Fijai SHS 70th anniversary celebration today
Old students of the Fijai Senior High School known as “Young Souls” will be hugging and embracing each other and also praising God for giving them the gift of life to witness the 70th anniversary of their alma mater.
It is always wonderful to see Young Souls come together as a family. It is a week-long of activities which started from Monday, February 28, 2022.
Top of the programme will be the participation of the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who will deliver a special anniversary address to mark the occasion at the grand durbar today, March 5, 2022, at the school park of the Fijai Senior High School.
The school was established on Tuesday, January 29, 1952, as a secondary day school during the period Dr Kwame Nkrumah was the Leader of Government Business.
It was the first of such secondary schools which were set up under the then government’s Accelerated Development Plan for Education, to expand secondary education particularly in the Western Region, which did not have any government-assisted secondary school at all.
Other secondary schools established under this programme were Keta Day Secondary School, Kpando Day Secondary School, Konongo Odumasi Day Secondary School and the Dormaa Ahenkro Day Secondary School.
The formal opening of the school was performed at 3:30 pm by Nana Kobina Nketsiah IV, Omanhene of the Esikadu Traditional Area, on the premises of the old Sekondi Hospital with the late Charles Quaye, who was brought from Mfantsipim as headmaster.
As a mixed school, it started with six girls and 32 boys. The intake rose to 48 boys and 12 girls by the end of 1952. Mr Quaye virtually exported Mfantsipim to Sekondi; the Fijai uniform was an exact copy of that of Mfantsipim.
So clearly was Mfantsipim label on Fijai that at one Speech and Prize-Giving Day, Nana Kobina Nketsia IV, the Omanhene of Esikado himself an old boy of Mfantsipim School, described Fijai as “Mfantsipim of the West.”
On Tuesday, January 25, 1955, the school moved out of its temporary buildings to its present location and renamed Fijai Day Secondary School after the stool name of a village situated just four kilometers north of the school.
The name of the school is an indigenous one, and should therefore not be linked to the Fiji Islands of the Pacific Ocean.
The school, which started as a small mustard seed by the founder has currently a population of 1,500, with more female students than male. The trend is frightening, considering the fact that in the 1950s and 1960’s there were only about five girls in a class of 45 students.
During the first anniversary ceremony of the school 69 years ago in Sekondi, the founder of the school initiated a major principle, part of which reads as follows;
“It is our belief that the purpose of education is growth, since every individual required different material and in different quantities for growth. It is our aim to deprecate standardisation and to promote individuality.”
“We are aware that there are certain minimum essentials every child must master. Apart from these it is our aim to offer greater opportunities for differentiation within the limits of our means, to help the child become a well-adjusted and happy individual, able to fit into the community and to subscribe effectively towards the national good.
“The educated child is not merely the well-instructed child, or the healthy-bodied child or the ‘good’ child but a fully integrated personality”.
Developing the “whole personality” is an uphill task. It is therefore not surprising the school has as its Motto: “AD ASTRA PER ASPERA”, which means: “To the stars though difficulties”. Achievements in other words, are hardly presented on silver platter.
Mr Quaye decided to conduct an assessment test of the calibre of the 1955 intake. after the test he said, “Young boys and girls I am satisfied with your ability and strength and instead of five years you will use only four years to pursue the Cambridge University School Certificate Programme.
But warned: “Those who would not stand the pressure and heat of learning and teaching will be swept away by the dreaded Monsoon winds”
This policy over the last 70 years has produced many renowned professionals, including scientists, engineers, medical giants, top military men, journalists and broadcasters.
Gen. Erskine, others
Special mention is made of General Erskine, a product of Fijai who became the first African soldier to head the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Lebanon. Another Fijai product, indeed, an academic genius, Dr Samuel Dufu of the 1955 intake, stunned the entire West African sub-region when he came first in the Cambridge University Higher School Certificate Examination at the 6th form level.
The Fijai Old Students Association (FOSA) has made stupendous contributions to the infrastructural development of the school over the last seven years; rehabilitation of several building structures and construction of new ones such as Visual Arts and Science Laboratory blocks, kitchen and the newly constructed entrance gate.
Fijai once again must rise and be counted among the best senior high schools in Ghana. For instance, in 1962 Fijai won the National Inter-Secondary School Soccer Competition and, a product of the school, Okoe Addy, gave Ghana a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games Athletic Championship when Fijai did not have a playing field.
History has an exciting way of repeating itself. On June 23, 1956, the official opening ceremony of the school was conducted by a high-profile northerner, Mr J. H. Alhassan, the then Minister of Education.
On the occasion of the 70th-anniversary grand durbar and speech and prize-giving day, the guest speaker, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, will speak on the theme: “Seven decades of holistic education through thick and thin.”
The function will be held under the chairmanship of Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhen of the Esikado Traditional Area.
YOUNG SOULS, SO STRONG THE RACE TO RUN!