Skills training surest way for development - Akufo-Addo
Empowering Ghanaians through education and skills training is the surest way for the development and progress of the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
“It is not gold, cocoa, diamond, timber or oil that is going to build our nation, if it were, it would have done so already. It is empowered Ghanaians, especially the youth of today, who are going to build Ghana,” he said.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) in Kumasi last Saturday, President Nana Akufo-Addo said countries that had done well, even without natural resources, were the ones that invested in the education and skills training of their people.
As a package to the school on the occasion of its 60th anniversary, the President announced that the government would construct a vocational centre for the school.
He also instructed the Ministry of Education to ensure that all GETFund projects, including a library, ICT centre and the girls’ dormitory of the school, were completed as soon as possible.
President Akufo-Addo, together with some of the old students of the school, including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere, Mr Dan Botwe, a former National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party(NPP), Mr Peter Mac Manu, and some officials of KUMACA, cut the school’s 60th birthday cake.
The school’s cadet treated the audience to excellent military drills, with music provided by the school’s mass band.
Touching on the treatment of young Africans in Libya, the President recounted the daily reported stories of large numbers of young Africans who are trekking the Sahara and crossing the perilous Mediterranean Sea to seek greener pastures in Europe.
He said those young adventurists could not be blamed because majority of the African countries they hailed from were just exporters of raw materials and that the only way to ensure prosperity in Africa and Ghana, in particular, was through value addition activities in a transformed and diversified modern economy.
He said it was an educated workforce that could facilitate and bring into fruition the industrial development of Ghana and the continent.
The President said many Ghanaians agreed and accepted that education was the best way to deal with poverty.
Recounting his encounters with mothers during his 2008, 2012 and 2016 electioneering, President Akufo-Addo said some mothers recalled stories of how they had to sell their inheritance to make sure that their children went to school.
He said he also met children who were desperate to attain education.
President Akufo-Addo said it was to remove such burden on parents and some students that the government introduced the free senior high school (SHS) initiative on September 12, 2017 to enhance access to secondary education.
That single move by the government, he said, had led to monumental increase in the number of pupils who had access to secondary education this year.
Admitting that any new bold initiative was likely to encounter challenges, he said the implementation of the free SHS policy was fraught with challenges.
That notwithstanding, President Akufo-Addo said the government was making every effort to address those challenges, adding that he was inspired by the famous Chinese proverb, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.”
The Headmaster of the school, Rev. Sylvester Osei-Owusu, said the school had a student population of 2,810 and half of them were day students because of lack of boarding facilities which had become a big challenge to the authorities.
He said most of the first year students, who were enjoying the free SHS, opted for the boarding house, a situation which had stretched boarding facilities.
He added that out of a staff population of 127, only 25 were resident on the compound and that situation had made effective supervision of students difficult.
Rev. Osei-Owusu urged the government to provide more facilities for the school and complete those under construction.
He paid tribute to the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and old students of the school for their contribution to the development of the school.