Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State, in charge of Education, Science and Sports last Thursday called on participants of the Easter School to help find solutions to problems of education in the north, especially that of the Bawku area.
She said due to the conflict, some schools in the Bawku Municipality had to close down while others had irregular classes with most of the teachers vacating their post.
Ms Ohene said this when she opened the five-day Northern Easter School in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region on the theme, 'Setting a New Development Agenda for Northern Ghana' Participants were drawn from the three northern regions.
She said: 'The Education problem in Bawku is a difficult one and I believe that you people would be in the best position to find a good solution to it, so I entreat you to deliberate on it and come out with feasible and interesting suggestions, for desperate situations need desperate remedies,' she said.
Ms Ohene said the most challenging aspect of the problem was that the students in Bawku would be writing the same exams as their colleagues who have had the full benefit of good and regular tuition in other schools.
She said there could not be any meaningful development in the north without education and asked the participants to deliberate on the issue of girl-child education. 'The next generation of literate mothers would ensure that their children go to school, so let us start now and come out with challenging recommendations for policy makers,' she said.
Mr Alhassan Samari, Upper East Regional Minister, in his welcome address said the seed money of 25 Million Ghana Cedis to be used to establish the Northern Development Fund was a demonstration of the commitment by government to the Northern Development Agenda.
He said this should be a big motivation for the people of the region and their development partners, to contribute to the Fund.
Mr Samari said government had acknowledged that the north needed special intervention outside normal public investment programme to catch up with the rest of the country and that was a good start for the region.
'The Northern Development Fund is to transform the economy and society of northern Ghana through a medium and long-term development strategy, to eventually narrow the development gap between the north and south,' he said.
Mr Samari said if the perennial communal conflicts continued, the donor community was not likely to invest in the north and the seed money might not grow. He noted that the leadership of the north had a greater responsibility in setting and propelling a new development agenda for the region, in-spite of government budgetary allocations.
Mr Samari urged all northerners to embrace the new development agenda with the passion that it deserved, devoid of partisan politics and selfishness. 'We cannot set a new development agenda for northern Ghana without sacrifice and selfless commitment to the plight of the many who are deprived,' he added.
Topics to be discussed include; 'Setting a new development Agenda for Northern Ghana,' 'The current Education reform, its implications for Northern Ghana,' 'Harnessing available resources for development in Northern Ghana', 'Deepening participation for effective local governance in Northern Ghana' and 'Northern Ghana Development Fund- issues of concern.'