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30.03.2006 Sports News

West Africa Polytechnics Games Association holds Assembly

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Accra, March 30, GNA - The Ministry of Education and Sports is committed to empowering the youth through education and training to enable them be integral parts of the country's sphere of national and international endeavour.

The Ministry is therefore providing training facilities, research and infrastructure and other avenues through its agencies and continues to support sporting opportunities to enhance good health, reduce poverty and encourage national and international integration. Mr Yaw Osafo-Marfo, Minister for Education and Sports announced this in an address read on his behalf at the opening of the Fourth Special General Assembly of the West Africa Polytechnic Games Association (WAPOGA) organised in conjunction with the Conference of Polytechnic Principals of Ghana in Accra on Thursday. Delegates from Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal are attending the two-day Assembly. The Assembly is aimed at tackling issues affecting the Expanded Technical Committee and also build a consensus to promote sports among the member countries towards the association's forthcoming games. Mr Osafo-Marfo said sports is a competitive activity that brings people together for cultural pluralism and integration as it promotes the spirit of competitiveness as it celebrates success and togetherness. The Minister said polytechnic sports and games should not be lost in the nation's health, environment and growth and indulging in such games at higher educational levels should therefore be seen as an important instrument.

Mr Osafo-Marfo expressed the hope that the modalities set for the games will conform to international standards that will promote the issues that underline the goal of the association.

He said tertiary institutions and for that matter the Polytechnics play a very vital role in the nation's quest to use quality human resources to accelerate its economic transformation.

The Minister said it is however regrettable that Africa's Polytechnics are still beset with identity crisis but it is gratifying that polytechnics in the sub-region are collaborating to share and find solutions to their common problems.

Dr K. Nsiah-Gyabaah, Chairman of the Conference of Polytechnic Principals (COOP) said it is regrettable that the polytechnics have been relegated to the background thus affecting the physical, moral and mental development of the students.

"We have paid little attention to sports as a unifying force between countries and as a big time international business whose yearly turnover in monetary terms is incalculable", he said Dr Nsiah-Gyabaah said he was hopeful that the polytechnic games would be used to provide a lot of answers to many of the social problems by inculcating in the students a sense of moral development, discipline, tolerance, unity, team building and comradeship. The maiden games will be held in Nigeria in December 2006. 30 March 06