Monday, July 05, 2010

Parents say no to Palmer-Buckle

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday July 5, 2010
The woes of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle do not appear to be going away anytime soon.

The latest to join the fray in giving the Archbishop more ‘trouble’ is the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the Catholic Social Advance Institute formerly Social Advance Institute located close to the Workers’ College at Adabraka in Accra.

The parents are in total disagreement over plans by Most Reverend Palmer-Buckle and his team to relocate the school from Adabraka to Mamprobi and Arena, all in Accra respectively and have vowed to use any means possible to scatter the plan and also resist any attempt to victimize anybody.

Most Rev Palmer-Buckle had earlier been shit-bombed at Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church in Mamprobi over the movement of the school to the area.
According to the parents, by the arrangement of the Archbishop, the secondary department of the school is expected to be relocated to Martyrs of Uganda in Mamprobi while the primary section will go to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Arena.

The Social Advance Institute was established in 1964 by a German social worker, Dr. Helga Kleinkowski with sponsorship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF, a German political NGO to give academic and vocational training to street and vulnerable children in Ghana.

Dr. Kleinkowski retired from active service in 1979 and handed the school to Accra Diocese of the Catholic Church and in 2004; the church changed the name to Catholic Social Advance Institute.

At a news conference in Accra on Saturday to protest the relocation of the school, Samuel Siaw, acting for the PTA Chairman who is currently in the United States said “as concerned parents, we cannot accept this clear case of arbitrary dislocation of a school which is a legacy for the children of this country by a benevolent organization, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF). History will not forgive us if we condone and acquiesce to this unpleasant action like the one being taken by His Grace, the Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle.”

They said even though the association has been supporting the infrastructural development of the school, they were never consulted on the decision and no ‘reasonable’ explanation had been given to justify the relocation.

The parents claimed that the apparent reason for the relocation is that the Metropolitan Archbishop wants to move a university called Catholic Institute of Business and Technology (CIBT) to the school’s premises, adding “as we speak now, the Archbishop has moved CIBT with student population of just 30 to occupy the assembly hall of Social Advance Institute since May, thereby depriving the students of both an assembly and examination halls”.

They said the school currently operate from 30 classrooms with good facilities but are being relocated to 15 classrooms building in two different campuses and whose facility cannot match up to what exist in Adabraka.

“How can teachers who teach in both vocational and secondary departments shuttle between two campuses in Arena and Mamprobi?” adding “several facilities including a science laboratory and an examination hall which are Ghana Education Service (GES) and West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) requirements for operation of a senior high school cannot be made available at the new sites.”

The parents said they have taken into consideration media reports that a group of people calling themselves Catholic Resistance Movement who are threatening to cause mayhem should the school be relocated to Mamprobi describing the threats as ‘serious’
“Our children have become seriously traumatized and their academic work has been serious affected by these negative developments. The question we want to pose to the Archbishop is that is it the work of God to deprive these poor children of their divine right in favour of a minority class of rich students who can afford to pay dollars?”

“We find it strange that the National Accreditation Board (NAB) could grant accreditation to a university to come and destroy a well-organized school of over 700 students. We demand an explanation from the board.”

We want to use this medium to appeal to President J.E.A. Mills, Ministers of Education, Women and Children’s Affairs, the Chief Justice to intervene and save the lives of our children.”

“We are also appealing to the Catholic Bishops Conference to speak to the conscience of Most Reverend Palmer-Buckle not to ruin the lives of our children and mostly call on Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) who built the institute to act without delay to stop any attempt to destroy its legacy bequeathed to the children of Ghana.”

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