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10.08.2009 Social News

Children of cocoa farmers deserve better

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Education, as the adage goes, is the bedrock for the development of every nation. A country that looks down on education does so at her own risk, because the future of that country will be bleak. The Asian tigers have become what they are today, because of the special attention they paid to education.

Though Ghana is now performing well, to the extent that Nigerians are now sending their wards to Ghana to pursue university education, the impact is being felt in the urban centers only.

Nowadays, it is very difficult for children from poor homes in the rural areas, to rise through the academic ladder to enter our universities, as it used to be some years back.

There are many prominent Ghanaians who came from poor backgrounds in the rural areas, but because there was equity in education at the time, they were able to make it to where they are today.

It was apparently to check some of these imbalances that the government of Ghana instituted scholarship schemes for wards of cocoa farmers in the country.

Unfortunately, the objective for which this scheme was established is being abused.

It is common to see rich people in the urban areas grabbing cocoa scholarships for their children, whilst the poor cocoa farmer struggles to get his children educated.

The Chronicle thinks that if this unfortunate development is not checked, it will further widen the dichotomy between the standard of living in the rural areas, and that of the urban centers.

The Chronicle therefore supports the position of the Deputy Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Mr. Antwi Bosiako Sekyere, that scholarship quotas must be given to brilliant but needy students in the cocoa growing areas.

The Deputy Minister was quoted by the Ghanaian Times as saying that the quota had become necessary, because the COCOBOD's scholarship scheme does not cover children in all cocoa-growing areas.

We, at The Chronicle, believe that if this suggestion is taken on board, it will go a long way to promote education in the rural areas.

Cocoa is the backbone of Ghana's economy, but unfortunately, the farmers who have made this happen, most often live and die in squalour. Surely, this situation could have been prevented, if their children are well educated to take proper care of them when they grow old.

We do not think the government will be in a position to give scholarships to children of all cocoa farmers in the country, but at least, the greater percentage should be made to enjoy the facility, instead of allowing the urban people to take over something that does not belong to them.

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