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12.10.2004 Regional News

Ghana needs a permanent national policy on socio-economic development

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Accra, Oct. 12, GNA - Stakeholders at a forum on human capital development on Tuesday called for the formulation of a permanent national policy on socio-economic development. They suggested that successive governments regardless of their political ideologies should strictly pursue such policy in the interest of the country.

It was observed that over the years due to partisan politics governments had continually changed policies to reflect their political views, which had derailed the development agenda of the country. The forum, which was organized by the Ghana Employers Association, was meant to create a common platform for academia, political parties and civil society to interact on socio-economic issues and how best to develop the human resource base of the country.

Participant, who spoke on the theme: "Human Capital Development As a Strategy for Wealth Creation", said it was high time the country's Leaders took full charge of the affairs of the country rather than depending on donor support.

Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi said the country must not be governed on partisan lines but rather on clear-cut policies that would move it from its current bad state.

He noted that human resource became the greatest asset if only the country were able to develop that facility to her advantage. "The reality of the situation is that Ghana is still far from developing her human capital appropriately."

Citing statistics for 2003 Prof Andam said: "Out of 20 million Ghanaians, 2,524,237 enter the primary schools and 865,208 make it to the Junior Secondary School. Then only 500,000 enter senior secondary schools. The number of students in all our Universities and Polytechnics are around 110,000.

"The important question to ask is this: What happens to the over two million pupils, who do not reach the senior secondary schools from the primary level? Also of all two and half million, who begin at the primary level, only four per cent reach the tertiary level."

All the speakers particularly the politicians underscored that education was the pivot around which the human capital could be developed to serve as a strategy for wealth creation.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, National Democratic Congress (NDC), National Youth Organiser, said his Party was poised to ensure that education became available to every Ghanaian irrespective of the socio-political background.

He said the Party recognized that development did not depend on physical equipment only but rather the amount of investment pumped into human resource training.

Mr Iddrisu said his Party would ensure that the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) was used for its intended purpose to boost quality education in the country.

Mr Emmanuel Bartey, who represented the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the Government's policy to establish a model school in every district in the country demonstrated the realization of the role education played in development.

He said the Party would continue to pursue prudent socio-economic policies capable of redeeming the country from the present predicament. Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona, General Secretary of Convention People's Party (CPP) noted that it was pathetic that party politics had not helped to develop the full potentials of the country.

He noted that policy on education in particular must have a clear-cut bearing that would not change with the changes in government. Mr Gabriel Kwamah of People's National Convention (PNC) said his party would eradicate illiteracy in four years or less through rigorous expansion in educational facilities.

He said a PNC government would provide free meals for students at the tertiary level as a mean of producing individuals with the needed skill to speed up development.

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