Patrick Osei-Wusu is a 14 year old Junior High School student. He cries almost all the time not because he is sick or block-headed; in fact, he has topped his class in all examinations since stated schooling.
Patrick however dreads the potential of dropping out of school due to financial constraints.
He will isolate himself in a corner and cry during break-time before returning to the classroom.
His mother, Afia Pokua, sells bread on retail to earn a living.
Patrick’s father died just about the time the teenager entered JHS, leaving the poor mother all alone to cater for him.
Afia Pokua reveals she also cries over similar concern, that is, her son could end up like her if he dropped out of school.
She recalls when her husband and bread winner of the family died she decided to take Patrick out of school to help her sell bread.
Patrick’s teachers however intervened to pay his school fees due to the boy’s academic prowess and humility.
Patrick’s story is one of many who struggle to meet their financial obligations in school and face the ugly scare of becoming drops-out.
Headmaster of the KNUST JHS, Eric Oti Arthur, explains there are about thirty of such students in the school, a situation he describes as worrying.
“Sometimes it is disturbing when you enter the class always to sack these brilliant students for owing school fees,” he lamented.
Mr. Oti Arthur reveals sometimes the weekly worship service at morning assembly on Wednesdays, staff and students contribute money to support needy students.
“It is very difficult for both the children and parents so we do some offertory during worship on Wednesdays to assist some of them,” he said.
The headmaster observes some, especially the females, feel embarrassed from the look on their faces when they are asked to leave the classroom while their colleagues learn.
Some of them even getting money to foot their transportation back home is difficult.
Mr. Arthur reveals, “as a head, sometimes I have to offer my personal money to help some, especially, those who live outside Kumasi. Sometimes, they come to you as a parent and father, and you have to assist”.
Back to Patrick’s story, mother and son had something to smile about; as Patrick was selected among ten children for full scholarship.
For the rest of his Basic Level education, Patrick will perhaps will overcome his fear and stop the routine crying as he and colleagues get support from the school’s alumni.