First Lady addresses COBAANA, USA; calls for equal opportunities for every child
First lady Mrs Lordina Mahama has called for equal opportunities to education for every child. She believes the location of a child should not deprive any child of education, saying there was nothing as important in a child’s early life as education.
“Give a child education and change his or her future,” she noted.
Mrs Mahama was addressing a large gathering of Chiefs and Queen mothers, both local and international and other dignitaries at a colourful durbar to mark the 7th Annual Convention of the Council of Brong Ahafo Associations of North America (COBAANA) at Worcerter, Massachusetts in the US.
This year’s convention was on the theme: “Changing Lives Through Education”.
The First Lady said the development of the country was not for the government alone, but a shared responsibility for all and indicated that children have dreams to go to school, and to realize their full potential, but they need a helping hand to achieve those dreams and that was the reason for the gathering which aims to raise funds to put up a six classroom block at Ayaakomase, near Nsoatre in the Brong Ahafo Region to supplement government’s efforts.
She said there was nothing as important in a child’s early life as education and added that give a child education and change his or her future”. “There is a direct link between poverty and lack of education. Education is a bridge out of poverty”.
Mrs Mahama said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), report in the year 2015, indicated that sub-Saharan Africa remains the home to the largest out of school population of children in the world and although Ghana continue to face its own challenges, it had achieved universal enrolment of children in primary school.
This, she said, had made Ghana a role model for many African countries in the provision of free education and free compulsory universal basic education and free community day Senior High Schools had increased access to education for many vulnerable groups.
The First Lady said the policy of progressively free secondary education was being extended to 120,000 boarding students this academic year and by the end of the MDGs in 2015, Ghana had attained over 97% primary school enrolment.
And according to UNICEF, the primary school net attendance rate in 2014, was over 70%, and is among the highest on the continent. Ghana has also remarkably attained gender parity in education, where the number of girls in school now matches the boys, and even higher than the boys in some areas of the country.
Government is also building and commissioning more Community Day Senior High schools, to increase access and to reduce imbalance in the provision of education across the country. This is the vision of the government; to transform Ghana into a leading education hub, for the West African Sub-region, and it was also building new universities, training colleges and vocational schools across the country.
She said the government, since assuming the reigns of governance in 2009, has increased the number of nursing and midwifery schools in Brong Ahafo from 5 to 19.
Mrs Mahama indicated that her foundation continues to present working tools to designers, beauticians and artisans to help them start their businesses and only recently, it presented start-up tools to our brothers and sisters in Kenyasi, Kukuom and Sankore among others.
Mrs Mahama said her foundation had facilitated the construction of an Ultramodern Community Information Centre, for the Kintampo community and its environs at Ampoma, which would serve as an ICT Hub, for the community and afford schools in the area have access to ICT Lab as well as Internet facilities.
For his part, the Mayor of Worcester, Mr Joseph Petty in a goodwill message commended the association for working hard to provide a school building to enable the children in Ghana have access to quality education.
The Omanhene of the Dormaa Traditional area, Osagyefo Osadeayo Nana Agyemang advised the people to give praise where it was due and stop unnecessary criticisms which does not help in the development of the nation.
He said currently President John Dramani Mahama, if for nothing at all, had brought water to the people of Ghana and the development projects he has done was there for everyone to see.
Ghana’ Ambassador to the United States, Lft. General Joseph Henry Smith (rtd) said COBAANA has come this far because of commitment and genuine interest to make significant impact on the lives of people and communities back home.
Present at the ceremony was the Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, Deputy Minister for Local Government, Mr Adjei Agyekum, Nana Yaw Kagberese V, President of the Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount chief of the Yeji Traditional area.
Nana Ansah Adu-Baah, Omanhene of Yamfo Traditional Area; Odeneho Dr Afram Brempong III Omanhene of Suma Traditional Area; Obrempong Ameyaw Amponsem II, the chief of Anyima; Nana Kwabena Tetteh II, Nifahene of Nkoranza Traditional Area; and a number of queen mothers.