By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
Four hundred-and-nine (409) recruits were admitted at the Army Recruits Training School (ARTS), three hundred and seventy-eight (378) graduated – twenty-nine (29) were females, seventeen (17) of them failed their exams, whiles fourteen (14) were released on health and misconduct grounds, after six months of training and the lowering of the pass-mark.
This was the sad statistics that was availed to family, friends and the general public who traversed variously to witness the 2018 Batch 1 Passing Out Parade held at ARTS on Friday the 11th of January, 2019.
The 17 who failed their exams have not been released to go home but are being held at the school to be worked on by their instructors until such a time that they would be fit to be soldiers, for 7 of the 378 are also from the previous class that could not pass and hence were retained and worked upon and had even produced the Overall Best Recruit.
They were taken through lessons in drill, physical training, weapon training, minor tactics and field craft, map reading, military law, first aid, some liberal education as well as orientation at the Jungle Warfare School (JWS) at Achiase.
Per convention of the Army, every recruit who has passed through ARTS, has had to undergo the aforementioned lessons and pass at least 60% for each of the subjects above.
For the 2018, batch one, they lagged far behind hence the Commanding Officer (CO), Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel LS Gyadu, interceded on the behalf of the recruits with the Army High Command to down-scale the mark to 40% – to which it was agreed, but that also, many of the recruits had difficulties passing.
In a speech by the Reviewing Officer of the parade – Brigadier-General Moses (Brg-Gen) Mohammed Aryee, Commandant of the Army Training Command (ATRAC), made it unambiguous that for one to pick up a recruits’ form, fill them, pass exams, undergo body-selection and medicals, does not in any way make one a soldier, until one successfully goes through the ARTS.
He further stated that even after graduating from the school, recruits should not drop their guard on Basic Fitness Tests (BFT) as other promotional tests are just about to be introduced.
To the families and friends, General Aryee urged them to curtail the attitude of coercing the young soldiers to settle personal feuds and sentimental vendetta.
To drum home the message to the gathering, the CO and staff improvised by complimenting the English commentary in vernacular for effective communication.
In the awards, Recruit Prince Acheampong won Best in Academics, Map Reading and Over All Best, Samuel Gyasi-Amoah was Best in Drill and Agnes Oko Ose Apepoka was the Best Female recruit.