Thursday, April 23, 2009

Children cry for peace

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

Ghanaian children have appealed to the government to put measures in place to bring down the tension in the northern part of the country to enable children from that area to have sound minds to concentrate on their studies.

They said as a result of the constant gunshots, burning of houses, taking of lives and destruction of properties in the north, many children there had dropped out of school. 

“There is the need to find a solution to these conflicts so that innocent children will not be rendered homeless, made orphans and, above all, fail in their academic endeavours,” they said.

The appeal was contained in a message presented to President John Evans Atta Mills during the President’s Independence Day Awards to 20 students who excelled in the 2008 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The message, which was read in four languages — Dagbani, Ga, Ewe, Twi and English — also asked the government to improve the standard of living of parents and children living in the rural areas so that the high incidence of rural-urban migration among children of school age would be reduced. 

In response, the President gave the assurance that measures would be put in place to resolve the current tension in all the conflict areas in the northern part of Ghana.

He urged the children to desist from being disrespectful to their parents and teachers.

 “Your academic brilliance should not make you think that you are more important than those who gave birth to you and those who are helping you acquire knowledge,” he noted.

He asked the Minister of Education to constantly monitor the performance of all the 20 award winners to ensure that the investment the government was making in them yielded the desired results, explaining that the awards to the students were to honour and encourage the youth to take up the challenge and make the sky the limit in their studies.

In all, 20 students, made up of a boy and a girl from each of the 10 regions, received the 52nd anniversary awards. Each student was awarded a four-year scholarship to cover boarding and lodging for the period of studies in senior high school.

In addition, each of the students was presented with GH¢400, a special plaque, a book and a certificate signed by the President and the Minister of Education.

The value of the scholarship  will be adjusted as and when school fees are revised.

Nestle Ghana Limited, through its Milo brand, sponsored all aspects of the awards, except the four-year scholarship package. It was supported by Readwide and Fiesta Royal Hotel.

The award winners are Gloria Adoma Demitia Mensah and Kwabena Ababio Britwum, Ashanti Region; Grace Ayiwa Fosu and David Nkansah, Brong Ahafo Region; Esther Korkor Addo-Kumi and Leslie Atta Akplah, Central Region; Judith Edem Foli and Frimpong Y. Sarpong, Eastern Region and Annie Sarah Benson-Tambo and Solomon Nii Martey, Greater Accra Region.

The rest are Chiwasine Hanifa Iddrisu and Abdul-Rashid Alhassan, Northern Region; Yvonne P. Asomaning and Josbert Abasa Ayamvire, Upper East Region; Ishak N. Qudiratu and Mahama Baleng Wutor, Upper West; Esther Lilian Opusumah and Lawson Bosso-King, Volta Region, and Ophelia Esi Dickson and Matusala Kuma, Western Region. 

The Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, said a number of schemes and programmes had been instituted to provide the best form of educational opportunities so that the nation would be guaranteed  a prosperous future.

The schemes, he said, included the President’s Independence Day Awards instituted in 1993.

He said the government had demonstrated its total commitment to the provision of accessible, equitable, affordable and quality education for all children, no matter where they were located in the country.

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