14.03.2005 Regional News

Govt asked to subsidize fees of vocational schools

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Asamankese, March 14, GNA - The Greater Accra Regional Manger of the Catholic Educational Unit, Mrs Iris Asamoah, has called on the government to subsidize the fees of students in the vocational institutes, just as is done in the in the senior secondary schools (SSS).

"If all persons will have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities, then the vocational students must also enjoy the same subsidies as their SSS counterparts", she stressed. Speaking at the launching of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the St. Mary's Vocational Training Institute (SMAVOC) at Asamankese on Sunday, Mrs Asamoah said, both the vocational education and secondary education were aimed at equipping the youth for the future and therefore, any form of government assistance should be spread to all students equally.

Mrs Asamoah, who is also the chairperson of the Heads of Catholic Institutions, called for the establishment of pilot pre-vocational and technical centres in cluster of schools, for better exposure and insight to adequately prepare those who could not make it to the SSS, to enter such schools or pursue any apprenticeship conveniently.

In a welcoming address, the Manageress of SMAVOC, Ms Felicia Akapame, said the school, which until 2000, was known as Asamankese Women Vocational Training Centre (AWVTC) had trained over 1,000 women to acquire various vocational trades.

She said the school, which was established 25 years ago by the Social Aid Guild (SAGG) and nurtured by the first principal, Ms Araba Sey for 24 years, had become a success and appealed to government to come to the aid of the institute in the provision of infrastructure to enable it to train more young women for national development. In his launching address, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Koforidua, Most Rev. Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, said the Catholic Church understood the role of the woman in society and the importance of training the same woman to be self-reliant to ensure that the woman was empowered holistically.

He explained that the emphasis behind the adage that 'if you train a woman you train a nation' was that "women naturally, could share at the expense of their comfort than men and therefore, if a woman was educated, it was easier for her to pass on the knowledge to others more convincingly."

The Bishop suggested that composite programmes like a forum for interaction between old students and women, who have excelled in their professional fields to influence the lifestyles of the students and to highlight activities of the institution to the public.

Earlier on, in a Holy Mass, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, the Most Rev. George Kocherry, called on families to pray together to remedy the waywardness of most children in homes.

He said education alone without morality could not make the woman fully empowered because "she might be pulled back by immorality." The anniversary celebration, which is scheduled for October this year, has the theme "25 Years of Promoting Girl Child Education Through Vocational Training".

An appeal for fund for the development of the school's new site yielded seven million cedis.

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