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23.07.2004 Regional News

Development must be culturally based - MP

By GNA

Accra, July 23, GNA - Mr Samuel Gyimah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Odotobiri on Friday said Ghana could reduce its dependence on foreign assistance if she were able to indigenise production to fit into the nation's material and cultural needs.

"It would rekindle the creative energies of Ghanaians to produce goods and services that can propel the economy to a steady growth and reduce its dependence on foreigners and development partners."

Mr Gyimah said this at the 9th Basic Schools Greater Accra Regional Cultural Festival that saw pupils from the Accra, Tema and Dangme East Municipal Assemblies competing in a variety of cultural events as part of their preparation towards the national event.

Underscoring the importance of culture vis-=E0-vis the nation's development, Mr Gyimah mentioned Japan, as a classic example of a nation that developed its material culture to higher heights and had thus become a leading economic giant among the comity of nations.

"Ghana can do the same, because there are numerous untapped resources and talents which can be used to produce all we need to sustain ourselves and adapt fully to this God-Given environment.

"Cultural education is not only about drumming and dancing as misconstrued by many a people. It can serve as the engine of growth for the nation because it is a form of education that would help the nation to develop along its own lines so that we can be self reliant," Mr Gyimah said.

Mr Gyimah touching on indiscipline, said the failure of family heads, churches and institutions to inculcate in children indigenous cultural values had resulted in the break down of discipline.

"Our culture should always be seen as the window to the world or the external environment. Culture dictates what should be spoken at any point in time," he said.

Mr Gyimah called for the intensification of cultural education in schools saying: "Indiscipline, which has become a social canker, is all a result of the lackadaisical attitude towards cultural education". Nii Stanley Adjiri Blankson, Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, in a speech read for him, said it was important that the Ghanaian traditional cultural values were used consistently for the enrichment of life in the country.

He said the youth no longer had time to listen to their grandparents' beautiful stories, which gave moral values of discipline.

Nii Blankson described as distasteful recent display of songs; dances and all forms of artefacts, which he said, had been influenced by foreign culture.

"It is here that the application of the arts come in. We have to impart what is pure, good and exemplary in our culture through music, art, dance and drama".

Mr A. B. Amoatey, the Accra Metropolitan Director of Education also noted that the disregard for culture by the youth was becoming so serious that today "most school children found it difficult to even greet in their local dialects.

The Accra Metro was adjudged the overall best in choral music, sight-reading, poetry recitals, dance drama and drum language competitions.

The Tema and Dangme East Municipalities placed second and third positions respectively. The festival was under the theme: "Culture Bedrock for Discipline".

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