The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has presented awards to 24 students who emerged as the overall best students in the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination.
Presenting the awards to the students at the "President's Independence Day Awards" ceremony, on Friday, 1st March, 2019, President Akufo-Addo noted that "they have brought considerable joy and pride to their families, schools, communities and to themselves, and it is only appropriate that they receive the plaudits of the nation."
Addressing the event at the Accra International Conference Centre, the President noted he has been working, over the course of the last two years, to ensure that knowledge and skill become the backbone of the Ghanaian economy.
"That is why I am delighted that two years of Government's hard work has ensured that all of you, including your colleagues and seniors in senior high schools across the country, in SHS 1 and SHS 2, are beneficiaries of the Free Senior High School policy," he said.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the belief of his Government to ensuring that free education widens the gates of opportunities to every child, especially those whose talents are arrested because of poverty.
"At this point in our history, we are determined to complete the transformation of the country into a modern, 21st century nation that remains distinctly and uniquely Ghanaian. It is for this reason that investments in our educational system are a key priority for my government," the President added.
The investments being made, he explained, also require the usage of a school curriculum that provides students with an education to make them competitive on both the national and global stage.
A new standards-based curriculum is to be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in primary schools, a curriculum which has drawn upon best practices from across the world, and will focus on making Ghanaian students confident, innovative, creative-thinking, digitally-literate, well-rounded, patriotic citizens. Mathematics, Science, Reading, Writing and Creativity are at the heart of this new curriculum.
In all of these, Government, according to President Akufo-Addo, recognises the important role of the teacher, and that is why all Colleges of Education are being upgraded to University colleges affiliated to five of the nation's public universities.
"In September last year, we introduced a 4-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree programme to replace the Diploma in Basic Education. Ultimately, this means that a first degree will be the minimum requirement for teaching at any level of our education system. We have also conducted the maiden teacher licensure examination, to ensure that potential teachers acquire a professional license and meet national teaching standards of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required to deliver quality education in our schools," he added.
The President continued, "These policies and programmes we are implementing today, are geared towards the growth and development of Ghana. We are preparing you for the birth of a prosperous society - a society which creates opportunities for all its citizens, rewards creativity and enterprise, honesty and hard work."
He challenged the award winners to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities being afforded them in the years ahead, imploring that "as you accept these awards, I urge you to remain grounded, honest and modest, as you strive for excellence. Let the Almighty be your guide at all times."