Kumasi, Dec 11, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised the country's youth to sacrifice leisure and other forms of pleasure for hard work, saying, this is the only means to a successful future. He said subjecting oneself to strenuous discipline was rewarding and worth every sacrifice made. "If I knew of any other means to success besides hard work, I would tell you. But I do not. This is why I am recommending it to, indeed, all the youth of the country".
President Kufuor was addressing 56th Anniversary and Speech and Prize Giving Day of the Prempeh College in Kumasi on Saturday. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, was among the huge assembly of high profile personalities who participated in the anniversary that was on the theme "The sustenance of Academic Excellence in Prempeh College: The Role of Stakeholders".
President Kufuor said increased population had resulted in a situation where senior secondary schools admitted many more students than their infrastructure could permit and thereby forcing students to study under difficult conditions. He said to help minimize the problem, the government had embarked on a programme to rehabilitate and expand existing school structures and where possible provide new ones. ''It is also our expectation that the programme to upgrade one SSS in each district will help reduce the pressure on schools to ensure efficient and effective training delivery.''
President Kufuor said as the global world was technologically driven, so must the educational institutions in the country be, if the country's youth were to acquire the cutting edge skills and competencies needed on the global market. He said it was for this reason that government was committed to the deployment of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in all sectors of the economy and began connecting all second cycle schools with telephone lines to support ICT infrastructure.
President Kufuor spoke of the need for the institutions to take a critical look at new ways of demonstrating their continued relevance to the community. He made reference to the past when The Voluntary Work Camp Associations and the Red Cross used to be quite active in schools, and said even at the national level, there were a lot they could do now for the betterment of the country. He cited for example the National Health Insurance Scheme and posed the question "Have we ever considered the impact we will make on this scheme if all SSS students could undertake a week long education and registration as our contribution to the success of the policy?" President Kufuor challenged students of the College to lead the crusade and said he hoped it would catch on with the others.
Professor Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, Chairman, National Board of Directors, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, appealed to the government to institute more pragmatic measures designed to help the country regain its previously recognized envious academic excellence. He proposed that as part of such measures the government should seriously consider "sharing the savings from the forgiveness of its foreign debts between two items, education and public health". Professor Ohene-Frempong said it was his conviction that a well-educated Ghanaian would be healthier and economically more competitive to contribute positively to the development of the nation than an uneducated citizen. He expressed worry that the country was drifting into a class society in which the well-to-do now have access to expensive and superior education while the poor continue "to slip farther and farther to the bottom of the social and economic ladder". He said for a nation to move forward and be strongly built, most of its citizens must be able to contribute to its development and that is when majority of them are educated.
In his report, Mr. Asamoah Owusu-Achaw, the Headmaster, complained that since 1960, the school had not seen any expansion in infrastructure commensurate with the increase in admissions. He said apart from the main classroom block leaking badly, the assembly hall built for 600 students is now used by 2,000 students, thereby, compromising academic excellence. While commending the Methodist and Presbyterian churches for owning and maintaining two dormitories at the college, the Headmaster, appealed to them to add new ones and also strive to make budgetary allocations for their regular maintenance.