TO: PARLIAMENT, REPUBLIC OF GHANA
Date: 23rd November, 2015
THE ILLEGAL EJECTION OF STUDENTS OF GHANA SCHOOL OF SURVEY & MAPPING FROM THEIR SCHOOL COMPOUND & ITS SUBSEQUENT CONVERSION FOR PRIVATE USE
A BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE GHANA SCHOOL OF SURVEY AND MAPPING (GSSM).
The Ghana School of Survey and Mapping (GSSM) is the foremost Survey and Mapping institute in Africa and the only HND awarding institute in Ghana. It is also worth mentioning that it is the only surviving one after the collapse of similar kinds in Tanzania and Nigeria.
The Ghana school of surveying and mapping is a merger of the former Ghana survey school and the cartographic training school which were established by the colonial administration as part of Sir Gordon Gugggisberg seven-year plan for training of middle level manpower in the surveying and mapping industry.
The Ghana school of surveying and mapping was established in 1921 and the cartographic training school was established in 1933. The Ghana survey school was known as gold coast survey school before Ghana attained independence in 1957.
The establishment of the school was in response to the urgent need to train local indigenes at the middle level manpower to help in the preparation of maps which is the bedrock of socio- economic development of any country.
Sir Gordon Guggisburg built this school for the mines and topographic mapping of the country and as part of his development plan he targeted mines, ports, schools and hospitals
With the mining sector his interest was for topographic mapping of the country. The school was built between 1919 and 1921 and this school started training African grade two surveyors for the survey department
Between (1930-1935) the mid 1930’s the school was moved to an area in Krobo-Odumasi called the Bana hills.
Much was not heard from them between 1950’s-1960’s with the advent of independence and because it was the then engineer regiment. Some of the buildings in the 37 military hospital were the abode of the lecturers.
The school was revived after independence producing surveyors in several batches.
Ghana school o surveying and mapping have trained people till date. It is a fact that nearly all senior professional surveyors in the country are all former students of the Ghana Survey School/ Gold coast survey school. We have all licensed surveyors in Ghana being products of this school, 9 products of the products who are regional surveyors at the various surveying and mapping divisions across the whole country, with the current principal and vice-principal all being old students of this same institution. Most technicians in surveying and mapping working with government or private firms have passed through Ghana School of Surveying and mapping
It is also on records that the school has also trained students for the West African sub regions
The school have been at its present site ever since and have continued to train staff of surveying and mapping division (Lands commission) and other staff annually.
the school has trained and retrained government agencies; e.g. Ghana Army, Land sector agencies, Cocoa Board, etc. for the private sector. Since this institution is one that specializes in the training of the middle level manpower in the survey and mapping industry.
This institution provides training in five disciplines
1. Land surveying
4. Remote sensing
5. Digital mapping and geographic information system (GIS)
The vision of the school is to become the foremost provider of middle level manpower of high professional standard in the surveying and mapping industry in Ghana and has done that till date.
Activities at the Ghana School of Survey & Mapping have been slowed down this academic year due to uncertainties surrounding the school compound.
Please find below concerns raised by the Union and the students….
1.The school was not established to occupy the office building but well-structured classrooms with computer laboratory and library on the 1919 Guggisberg Monument. The school land has a Land Title Certificate registered under the name of Survey& Mapping Division by a former Director/Principal, Surveyor. J. T. Odametey.
The school had a large tract of land where students went to camp to undertake Survey practicals, along the Achimota Motorway which was to have hostel facilities for students. The Lands’ Commissions sold that land to Nestle Ghana Limited and other developers.
This current plot where the school is, is the only property of the school, and if Lands’ Commission wants to eject us, the students will only move when a new school building is constructed for the students, and a legal land title made in the name of the school -Ghana School of Surveying& Mapping (GSSM).
2. The Survey Pillars at the Survey Head Office near El-Wak Stadium were destroyed in a bid to prepare the place for Land Registration Division (Land Title Registry) offices to be used by staff. These survey pillars were coordinated for testing of survey instruments before a survey work is carried out. A lot of such survey pillars are now on the school compound. Ejecting the students from the land means subsequent destruction of the remaining survey pillars. This would definitely lead to a survey work done in errors without proper checking of instruments. Dr. Anim Odame (Executive Secretary – Lands Commission) knows that it is an offence under section 40 (1) Act 152, 1986 of the Constitution of Ghana to destroy or cause the destruction of a survey beacon.
3. The National Geodetic Reference Network (GRN), a system that runs a twenty-four hours, seven days (24/7) Continues Operating Reference System (CORS) constructed on the 1919 Guggisberg monument, serves as the base of coordinated survey reference station forms part of the National Triangulated Network System in the country. When this is destroyed, survey work in Accra will be seriously challenged.
4. It is on record that the success story of the school is attributed to the immense contribution of the former Director of Surveys, Naa Alhaji IddrisuAbu, now on retirement, who expanded the school and opened avenues for trainees so that they can serve the country better.
5. The former sector Minister, Hon. Mike Hammah announced at the fifth (5th) SRC Week Celebration that his sector ministry has approved GHC 100,000 for Information Communication Technology and Computerization of essential training equipment to the school in line with modern Surveying and Mapping. Surveyor Mohammed Baidoo, the then Principal of the GSSM expressed his appreciation for the generous gesture, and said the colonial administration established the Ghana Survey School and the Cartographic Training School, that has merged to form the GSSM for the training of middle level manpower for the survey and mapping industry.
The school also has other foreign institutions that have been willing to help in the expansion of its structures and have been waiting for the go-ahead to do that. One such institution is JICA, who at the time proposed the expansion of the school to serve the West Africa sub region under the Global Mapping Project. Again Collaboration with the Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) has been established under GSSM & ITC - Netherlands where foreign students from East Africa have participated. Lecturers came from ITC-Netherlands to teach from time to time.
From the above, the Union and the students have resolved that:
1. If the Lands Commission insists on moving us, that can only happen when they have made provision for a site registered in the name of the school with well-constructed classroom buildings, hostel rooms, computer laboratory, school library, administrative offices, auditorium, sports facilities which meets the standards of National Accreditation Board(NAB) and NABPTEX for re-accreditation. There should also be enough space to enhance the hands-on survey and mapping practicals.
2. The proposal to reside the school temporary at the Valuation and Estate Division premises by management needs consideration in terms of safety and health since the area falls within the flight zone.
3. Student passing out of the Ghana School of Surveying and Mapping immediately gain employment or become self-employed. They are therefore not members of any Unemployed Graduate Associations springing up in the country.
The great demand for surveyors in Ghana by institutions such as forestry commission, Minerals commission, Office of the administrator of stool Lands, GHAPOHA, VRA,ECG,GRIDCO, and indeed all land sector agencies.
Most surveyors in these institutions were trained at some point at the Ghana School of Surveying and Mapping. In the light of these stated advantages, the Lands Commission cannot just drive us out like “SQUATTERS” without making any provisions for us not even considering the fees we have paid as students of this institution
4. We appeal to H.E John Dramani Mahama, the Sector Minister Hon. Nii Osah Mills, and the leadership of Ghana’s legislature to use his good offices to address these pertinent issues immediately.
The Union and the students of the Ghana School of Survey and Mapping (GSSM) will be forced to take further extreme measures should this precarious situation remains unresolved.
Elorm Mawuli-Kwawu Daniel Light Agbemordzie
National President – GUPS SRC President – GSSM
020 900 97 27 / [email protected] 466 30 90 / [email protected]
1. Ghana Institution of surveyors
2. TheBritish High Commission
3. The Ghana Museum and Monuments Board
4. Licensed Surveyors Association of Ghana
5. National Union of Ghana Students
6. Ghana Union of Professional Students
7. Management of GSSM
8. Director of Surveys
9. Regional Police Commander
10. Executive Secretary - Lands Commission
11. La Mantse
12. Minerals Commission
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