Kwafre Farms is a 1,500-acre multipurpose commercial farm established by the 2018 National Best Farmer, Mr James Boateng, about 16 years ago.
It is located about 25 kilometres from Nkoranza, the capital of the Nkoranza South Municipality in the Bono East Region.
Included in this vast multipurpose farm is a 500-acre mango plantation, 200-acre cashew plantation, 100-acre oil palm plantation and a 100-acre orange plantation.
Others are a 300-acre teak plantation, 30-acre cocoa farm, fishpond with about 10,000 different species of fish, an animal husbandry with about 200 goats and sheep and a snail farm with 11,000 snails among others.
There are 17 household settlements in the farm where labourers and their families are settled while inhabitants of 15 villages around the farms also provide labour for the Kwafre Farms.
The nearest town to the Kwafre Farms is Nyinase, which is about five kilometres away, where children of the 17 households and those from its 15 surrounding villages had to trek previously for about an hour, to and fro, each day to access education.
Establishment of school
However, a tragic incident that occurred about six years ago motivated the owner of the farm to establish the Kwafre Farms School.
The story is told of a three-year-old boy, Kwabena Kaneayiro, who returned from school and decided to go to his mother who had gone to the farm to pick up foodstuff for the household.
However, the boy lost track in his efforts to get to his mother in the vast farm and all efforts to find him yielded no results.
The skeletal remains of Kaneayiro were found six months later after a fire outbreak in the farm.
It was this tragic incident that pushed Mr Boateng to establish the school to provide easy access to education for children in the area to prevent them from wandering in the forest when their parents were not at home.
At the beginning of the school, pupils and teachers sat under a big tree for teaching and learning.
However, notwithstanding the effort to provide the about 90 pupils with quality education, there were problems because of the location of the school.
It was in the quest to ensure that pupils in this school were provided with quality education that could be compared with their counterparts anywhere in the world that an education technology company, Coral Reef, in collaboration with the owner of Kwafre Farms, inaugurated a smart laboratory for the school last Saturday.
The smart laboratory is aimed at bridging education access gaps so that pupils in the school will be creative and problem solvers like their counterparts anywhere in the world.
The digital solution items presented to the school, valued at $20,000, included 25 tablets for the pupils and a laptop for the teacher.
Also included were a projector, robotics kits, contents to be accessed on a Control Access Point in videos, text, pictures and other formats for practical teaching and learning, charging units, as well as a programme to train volunteer teachers.
It was, therefore, a happy occasion when parents, pupils, officials of Coral Reef, officials from the Nkoranza South Municipality and the Kwafre Farms converged on the school to launch the smart class.
Speaking to journalists, Mr Boateng said the establishment of the school was to give back to the households in the farms and the surrounding villages.
"They have continued to provide us with labour and it is incumbent on us to provide their children with quality education," he stated.
He said with the introduction of innovations in teaching and learning, about 60 pupils were ready to join the current pupils from the households and the surrounding villages.
Mr Boateng said farming was a lucrative venture and called on the youth not to consider farming as a vocation for failures in the society.
"Farming is profitable and I encourage the youth to venture into agriculture, but the government should set the tone by providing them with the needed financial and technical support," he stated.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Coral Reef, Mr Richard Osei-Anim, said since access and retention of teachers were major concerns in the education sector, Coral Reef and its partners were engaging the Ghana Education Service to support efforts at utilising technologies to bridge the gap in knowledge and human resource access.
That, according to him, was being done to make sure that teachers in other locations could render virtual teaching and learning facilitation support to the schools in rural Nkoranza and other such areas.
Mr Osei-Anim said the world had reached a stage where the use of chalk and blackboard for teaching had become archaic and efforts should be made to introduce the smart classroom concept at all levels of education no matter where one found him or herself.
He explained that to sustain the project, Coral Reef, together with Mr Boateng and stakeholders, would support the training and extension of electricity to the area to enhance access to internet services in order to tap into educational resources and experts across the country.
As part of the inauguration of the smart class, a three-classroom block constructed by the Member of Parliament for Nkoranza South, Mr Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, at the cost of about GH¢100,000 was inaugurated.
Mr Agyekum commended Mr Boateng for his vision and gave an assurance that he would seek the necessary resources to make Nkoranza a communication technology hub of the country.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Nkoranza South, Mr Daniel Owiredu, said the assembly would collaborate with stakeholders to make the Kwafre Farms School beneficial to children in the area.