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05.03.2005 Regional News

Northern Region tops conflict table in Northern Ghana

Northern Region tops conflict table in Northern Ghana
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Tamale, March 5, GNA - The Northern Region alone recorded 17 out of the 23 conflicts that occurred in Northern Ghana between 1980 and 2002, resulting in the loss of several lives and property. These conflicts ranged from chieftaincy to land, ethnic and religious disputes.

The Catholic Bishop of Damongo, the Most Reverend Philip Naameh announced this at the fifth joint annual Northern Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary/Technical School (CHASS) in Tamale on Thursday. The Conference was on the theme: "Impact of Poverty and Conflict on Quality Education Delivery in the Northern Sector - The Way Forward". Heads of schools from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions are attending the three-day conference to take stock of their past achievements and failures and to plan for the future. Bishop Naameh said these conflicts had adversely affected educational delivery in the North, where schools were used as abode for displaced persons, while some of the infrastructure was destroyed, resulting in the closure of the affected schools.

He called on the people of the North to see themselves as one people, who had experienced victimization and marginalisation over the years but had come together to restore their lost self-image, work for peace, stability and development in the area.

"I challenge people of Northern Ghana to work towards a peaceful society, a society that will promote inclusive, equitable, accountable, political and social institutions".

"They should also encourage economic, social, and ethnic diversity rather than polarization and ethnic dominance to facilitate growth and development through the promotion of a culture of dialogue instead of violence", he said.

Bishop Naameh said the educational delivery systems had suffered a number of setbacks because of discriminatory and exclusive tendencies from the colonial days until now.

Bishop Naameh called on the Ghana Education Service to include the teaching of conflict management in the school curriculum for student to explore peaceful solutions to conflict.

He also called for reform in the educational system, saying that, such a programme must be supported with sound policies, committed leadership; appropriate expenditure frameworks, as well as effective budget execution and good governance.

Adequate operational capacity at all levels, including capacity of communities to participate effectively with the right incentives and strong leadership to translate sound policies into effective action should be encouraged.

Bishop Naameh called for a political leadership in the North that would rise above partisan politics and that would commit itself to implementing the educational policies.

Traditional leaders, he said, should also encourage the enrolment of children, provide land and financial resources for education and create a peaceful environment to enhance education development in their areas.