Lack of knowledge about the purpose of the Heads of State Awards Scheme (HOSA) among private and public enterprises has caused such entities to close their doors to thousands of young students ready to render voluntary services to such enterprises.
This is mainly because many of these organisations do not identify with the scheme.
That is in spite of the fact that one major demand for qualification for the scheme, which inculcates in students honesty, time consciousness, self-discipline and hard, is that the students should engage in voluntary service in a public or private enterprise.
The Headmistress of Aburi Girls School, Ms Rose Bampo, who expressed this concern, said “unfortunately, these organisations do not open their doors heartily to welcome the participants”.
“Although this scheme is very beneficial to young people, it faces some challenges which make it inaccessible to thousands of young people who wish to participate in it”, she stated.
She was speaking at the 2012 HOSA programme at the Aburi Girls SHS, during which 120 students who had successfully undergone a 12-month silver and bronze tests were honoured.
The scheme involves training activities in voluntary community service, vocational skills development, physical recreation, adventurous journey and making new friends.
It aims at encouraging students to use their leisure time to acquire new skills and experience to develop into responsible and active citizens who will positively contribute towards society growth.
The HOSA Ghana, a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, was first introduced in Ghana as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 1967 and currently operates in over 120 countries worldwide.
In 1974, the then government of Ghana changed the name to the Head of State Award Scheme, Ghana.
The Aburi Girls headmistress noted that through various tasks and projects, the scheme sought to imbue participating students with leadership qualities such as initiative, self-confidence, reliability, determination, time consciousness, general discipline of the mind and body and entrepreneurial skills.
She said the participating students took part in a variety of activities such as community development and volunteer work and students who exhibited leadership qualities had bronze, silver and gold conferred on them.
Ms Bampo, therefore, appealed to entrepreneurs, private and public enterprises to identify with the scheme and wholeheartedly welcome participating students into their organisations.
The acting Executive Director of the HOSA, Mr Peter Anum said a number of young people from Ghana who were participating and volunteering in the award programme had won international appointments due to the success of the programme in Ghana.
He congratulated the students and urged them to use the knowledge and skills they had acquired for their personal development in the future.
“All of you receiving recognition today are well equipped to make a positive contribution to the development of our country and I encourage you to reach out to your peers in your communities to assist them to cultivate positive development-oriented values”, he urged the students.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Ebenezer O. Terlarbi, pledged the commitment of the government towards the success of the scheme in the country.