CHASS Conference

The 53rd edition of the conference of heads of assisted secondary schools (CHASS) was held in Tamale Senior High School auditorium and I happened to be around since it is in my district and directly on my way to work. Seeing the buses parked everyday like that I even thought that the headmasters had individually driven the various buses from their school and I could picture one headmaster per bus and driving all the way to the venue from their various locations. However I was put right that it wasn’t the case but that some of the headmasters had done car pools and some had even come by public transport.

Our headmasters are responsible for shaping the nation’s youth at the high school level which forms an integral part of growth and development of the youth.

One thing is very obvious too that these headmasters are enjoying by virtue of their positions and roles.  Until I went to the venue it had never occurred to me that an event like that will be such a fanfare with sellers of various products such as smocks, shoes and sandals, technological stuff like copiers and office equipment and even insurance and microfinance people soliciting for clients. Let’s not forget the most obvious group being those into the publishing and the sale of books.

My most profound discovery  was the levels of investment book writers and publishing houses were prepared to make to lobby these headmasters to accept their books. Various writers /authors of books were personally around to present copies of books freely as samples to the headmasters so they could endorse and probably recommend to the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education to be adopted in the curricular or syllabus. Heads of schools could be sighted walking around weighted down by the number of books making it seem like they’d been to a book fair and gotten books when all these were free books for their personal libraries.

Thats where the real money is, I was told by the writers and publishers I spoke to.

The maths really makes sense if you ask me.

Furthermore there were companies sponsoring various aspects of the conference but the most noticeable was the Macmillan Publishing Company that was declared the official sponsor of the whole conference by their generous donations to the organization in lieu of the organization of the conference.

There were various speeches by various speakers on various topics ranging from child psychology through to personal development and covering a wide range of the headmasters role as the head of an institution. Sitting at the back listening to these speeches it looked as if very few of the participants were paying attention and that was not so surprising since even in our national parliament such attitudes are displayed with even some members dozing off.

However it was really a relief for me to hear that the presentations were all written in ‘the yellow book’ (the conference program)that each participant was given so at least there was an assurance that they could get to read it later.

That was really assuring.

One of the speeches that caught my attention was by Dr Agambila, Deputy National President for the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW), when various stakeholders were invited to the podium to give solidarity messages whose speech so tallied with what my #iBelieveInReading project stands for.

Dr Agambila mentioned that GAW has identified the promotion of reading and writing culture as very critical to national development and that it is the interest of every writer to have readers for their works. He went further to stress the role of the headmasters as the molders of tomorrow’s leaders and how some of them could share their inspiring stories by writing their memoirs. Finally, he stressed the need for collaboration between the various stakeholders GAW, GES and CHASS to make Ghana a nation of readers and writers because this will lead to an emergence of a Ghanaian able to manage his own affairs.

Found myself asking doesn’t this reiterate my constant mantra that a reading nation is a leading nation?

Anyways I am glad I sat in this conference to see how these heads of schools take their work seriously and how they are motivated to go out there and push for the development of Ghana through education. We all have our individual roles to play in national development and they are embracing theirs.

It is time we all put our shoulders to the till and put in our bit to develop Ghana our motherland. 

Some are doing our bit but the onus lies on us to draw attention to others to also pitch in and let’s move Ghana forward together.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!

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