Accra, March 4, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday re-affirmed the Government's unwavering determination to bequeath to the nation a strong, healthy and well educated youth to form the critical human resource base for accelerated development.
It was in pursuit of this that it had braved all odds to start the capitation grant and the school-feeding programme, he said at the presentation of the President's Independence Day Awards to 20 school children drawn from all the 10 regions at the forecourt of the State House in Accra.
Each award winner received a three-year scholarship to cover boarding and lodging valued up to seven million cedis and tenable in any Senior Secondary School in the country.
Additionally, they would pick one million cedis individually, 200,000 cedis of which would be used for books and a special book prize. The value of the scholarship would be adjusted as and when school fees were modified.
The winners of this year's National Schools Debate, Saint Francis Xavier Secondary/Junior Seminary, Wa, and the runners-up Saint Peter's Secondary, Akwatia, were also presented with their prizes of six million cedis and four million cedis respectively. They also carried away computer and accessories.
President Kufuor said the outcome of the capitation grant and school-feeding programme was the tremendous improvement in schools enrolment in the basic schools.
He said they were currently putting in place measures to provide additional support to cope with the increased level of enrolment. He expressed confidence that if the nation should put the child at centre of education with all stakeholders playing their expected roles "there will be no limit to what the Ghanaian child can achieve". Touching on the awards, he said it should send a strong message to the school children that hard work must characterize all that they did as they progressed to adulthood.
President Kufuor reminded the award winners that they stood on the threshold of a new era in the nation's history when lessons and experiences of the past 49 years were being used to build a better future and encouraged them to remain focussed on their studies. They should also maintain the discipline that helped them to achieve the laurels.
Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, said the Awards Scheme had started yielding the desired results. One of the 2001 winners, Master Sally Kassim who before benefiting from it had to go through difficult times, doing odd jobs to raise money to cater for his education because his parents were unable to support him, was now an undergraduate of the University of Cape Coast reading Human Biology. The children earlier in a message to the nation said they were grateful for the Government's interventions at making education accessible to all children irrespective of geographical location. They appealed for an improvement of working conditions in the country to stop the exodus of teachers and other professionals. 04 March 06