Established 17 years ago by Gold Fields Ghana’s Damang Mine, the Nana Amoakwa Model School (NAMS) continues to excel in delivering quality education to pupils in Damang and its environs. NAMS has for several years put the rural community of Wassa Damang in the limelight of quality education in Ghana, and is emerging as a formidable force in quality education nationally. It was recently adjudged the National Best Performer in Science at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) level for 2017, beating all other Junior High Schools (JHS) in the country. And this is one of many.
The Ghana Education Service (GES), under the Ministry of Education, rated NAMS as the second Most Improved School nationally at the BECE this year. Through the hard work of both the teachers and the students, in 2015, the school emerged the Third Best Performing JHS in Science, as well as the Most Improved JHS at the BECE across the country. The school had a 100% pass rate in the BECE for 2014. In 2013, Mr. Jude Yirifah, a teacher at NAMS, was named the National Best Teacher.
Gold Fields’ Damang Mine set up NAMS as a model school in 2000, with the strong belief that quality education can be delivered and achieved, irrespective of location, if supported with the requite infrastructure and program. Even though it operates as a public school under the GES, NAMS has been a regular beneficiary of educational support, through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation. With funding from the Foundation, the mine has set up a teachers’ motivation scheme through which the mine pays a top-up allowance of up to 70% of the teachers’ basic salaries. This scheme is being run with the understanding, and on the condition, that the teachers deliver an excellent annual pass rate. Since its inception NAMS has achieved a 100% pass rate year after year, justifying the continuation of the scheme.
Mr. Alex Gyan, headmaster of NAMS, said; “We attribute the sterling performance of NAMS to the motivation that the Damang Mine has been extending to us, through the provision of infrastructure, learning aids, and especially the teachers’ top-up scheme. We’ve been able to attract some of the best teachers, and retained them through this scheme.”
The mine’s support extends to the pupils as well, through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation’s scholarship and bursaries scheme. Over 500 needy but brilliant community residents have benefited from the scholarship and bursary scheme since it was instituted in 2005. Majority have ended up in reputable Senior High Schools, and subsequently in tertiary and other institutions of higher learning, with greater potential to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities and the nation.
The Foundation invests in education, health, agriculture, water and sanitation, and infrastructure, in the mine’s host communities. Classroom blocks, school furniture, teachers’ accommodation facilities, teaching aids, and libraries have all been provided to schools in these communities, to improve access and quality of education.
Though it is located over 300km away from Accra, the NAMS example is a clear demonstration that quality education has less to do with geographical location, and more about providing the right infrastructure, support and incentives. The Damang Mine and the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation congratulate the pupils, teachers, and management of NAMS for being deserving torch bearers, and for providing hope to the younger generation.