Navrongo (U/E), March 28, GNA - Tertiary students resident in the Kassena-Nankana District of the Upper East Region are to be mobilised to organise effective remedial classes for Junior and Senior Secondary School students during long vacations, in a bid to reverse the falling standards of education in the district.
In addition, a model private school would be established in Navrongo to provide high quality basic education, as part of measures to attract and retain top calibre professionals to work in the district.
These were among a number of projects discussed by the youth of the Kassena-Nankana area at their Easter homecoming meeting held in Navrongo at the weekend.
In a report presented at the gathering, Dr. Stan Kadingdi, Chairman of an Interim Working Committee (IWC) set up by the youth last December to plan the Easter homecoming event, explained that the model school, which would be run as a business venture, would also generate funds to cater for other areas of concern.
He mentioned the construction of an ultra-modern library and the setting up of a Kassena-Nankana Human Resource Data Base as other projects the youth intend to undertake in the near future.
Dr. Kadingdi explained that the homecoming meeting, which had as its theme: "Harnessing Youth Potential for Sustainable Development," was meant to formally launch the Kassena-Nankana Youth Association, deliberate on pertinent issues of mutual interest and to raise funds for development projects in the area.
Professor John Kaburise, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS) and guest speaker at the function, decried the poverty and lack of development in the Kassena-Nankana District even though it was home to some of the distinguished doctors, engineers, politicians, academicians and statesmen in the country.
Prof. Kaburise, who is himself a native of the area, also cited the wide variety of educational institutions located in the district, the Tono Irrigation Dam, the world renowned Navrongo Health Research Centre, and the Paga crocodile pond among others which, he said, could turn the fortunes of the Kassena-Nankana area around but which were either being neglected or under-utilised. He noted with dismay the wretched state of the Navrongo central market, which he said, had remained the same as it was since he was a child, and bemoaned the spate of alcoholism among teachers in the area, urging the youth to take up the challenge of checking such counter-productive elements.
He said the cause of the area's problems was attitudinal, which bordered on the lack of commitment on the part of residents towards the development of the area. "We have simply not applied ourselves to these resources to generate the needed benefits," he observed, and urged the people to view the homecoming event as an opportunity "to reflect carefully about what have been our failures and, on the basis of that, soberly think of ways to harness these resources to benefit our district."
Another prominent son of the area and Ghana's Ambassador to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Colonel George Minyila (Rtd), called on the youth to be mindful of the "final homecoming" when they eventually retire from active service. "Whichever part of Ghana you are working now, make sure you come home and put up a small structure towards retirement," he advised.
In a welcoming address, the District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. George Danyare, announced that 35 boreholes were drilled in various parts of the district last year, with another 58 earmarked for drilling this year. In addition, more than 100 household latrines and 10 KVIP toilets were constructed last year, while two small town water systems at Paga and Sirigu are in progress.
On education, he said, the district receives support from 200 teacher-trainees on annual basis to augment the efforts of regular teachers. The District Assembly also offers financial assistance to tertiary students from the area who identify with the Assembly during holidays, he added.
The DCE pointed out that although the homecoming idea was a welcome one to all well-meaning Kassena-Nankana citizens, there was no gainsaying that the actualisation of its objectives called for dedication and steadfastness.
He was optimistic that with determination, the organisers would overcome any obstacles that might come their way.
Mr. Mark Woyongo, Deputy Director in-charge of Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Information, chaired the meeting. In his remarks he attributed the area's under-development partly to divisions caused by partisan politics. "Let us not allow politics to divide us. We should rather bear in mind that before the advent of party politics we existed as one people."
Mr. Woyongo further indicated that the major concern of the people of Northern Ghana as a whole should be how to bridge the disparities between the North and the South of the country in terms of education and physical development. This objective, he said, could be achieved only if the people eschewed "the pull him down attitude."