26 March 2017

Ghana: 'Girls Must Have Unfettered Access to Education' - President Akufo-Addo

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that achieving excellence in girls' education is a must if the country is to shed off the evils of poverty, ignorance and disease, and put onto the path of progress and prosperity.

According to President Akufo-Addo, several studies conducted across the world have indicated that investing in girls' education is arguably the most effective measure any developing nation can employ to improve its standard of living.

He also indicated research has proven that educating girls produces considerable social and welfare benefits, such as lower infant mortality and fertility rates, adding that "the mother's level of education has a direct influence on economic productivity of both her family and the nation."

Education, the President said, is the key to the development of Ghana and her democracy, and stressed that "my government, therefore, regards education as a public good to which our youth, in particular our girls, must have unfettered access."

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, March 25, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 90th anniversary celebration of Krobo Girls' School, at Odumase Krobo, on the theme "Achieving Excellence in Girls' Education: The role of Stakeholders."

To buttress his point, he referenced a statement made by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, who stated that "No development strategy is better than one that involves women as central players.

It has immediate benefits for nutrition, health, savings, and reinvestment at the family, community, and ultimately, country level. In other words, educating girls is a social development policy that works.

It is a long-term investment that yields an exceptionally high return... . We need those with power to change things to come together in an alliance for girls' education: governments, voluntary progressive groups, and above all, local communities, schools, and families."

The President noted, therefore, that political leaders, teachers, parents, communities and students have a major stake in ensuring that "we achieve excellence in our educational system, and by extension excellence in the education of the girl-child."

As a stakeholder in the country's educational system, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government has committed itself "to using the proceeds from our natural resources, as captured in the 'Asempa Budget', to help educate the population to drive our economic transformation. Instead of the revenues from our mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, I am of the firm belief that the most equitable and progressive way of using these revenues is to educate and empower our population.

It is for this reason that my government has indicated that it will fund the cost of Senior High School for all, beginning with the intake of the 2017/2018 academic year.

" Free SHS, he reiterated, will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level, as the policy will ensure that "more and more of our girls get access to affordable and quality education, which will, in turn, speed up the development of our country." In order to drive his government's industrialisation agenda, President Akufo-Addo revealed that his government has placed emphasis on Science and Technology education and Technical and Vocational training, assuring further that technical education will be put in its proper, relevant place. "For us to make a success of our education policy, we must pay attention to teachers.

It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy. Government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice," he said. President Akufo-Addo also assured that his government will facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as provide special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations.

To parents, the President stressed that their involvement in their children's education is a significant factor in their educational success and school improvement, because it is from parents that children learn about their culture, values, and language.

"Parents play a very important role in their children's education in and out of the classroom. That is why parents need to take on the challenge and provide their girl child the tools they will need in order to be successful in school and life," he added.

In commemoration of the school's 90th anniversary celebration, President Akufo-Addo tasked the Minister for Education, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who was also present at the ceremony, to see to the construction of an 18-unit classroom block, a request that was placed before government by the Headmistress of Krobo Girls.

Ghana

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