President John Dramani Mahama has called for increased community participation in the management of schools to enhance academic and related output of students.
He said a number of districts, many of which were deprived, had made a significant turn-around in academic performance and were today telling positive stories as a result of the keen interest shown by community leaders in the management of their schools.
Best performing districts in BECE
Speaking at the 2014 President’s Independence Awards at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra yesterday, the President said it was refreshing to note that the top 10 districts in the last Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) could not be said to be privileged.
The districts, in order of performance, are Obuasi, Adansi North, Juabeso, Sefwi Akontombra and Nkoranza South.
The rest are Atwima Kwanwoma, Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, Dormaa, Nkoranza North and Atwima Nwabiagya.
In all 20 students – a male and female from each region – were honoured for excelling in the last BECE.
This year’s awards were an improvement over previous years’, as, for the first time, each student was given a cash reward of GHc600. They also had laptops, books and products from Nestle Ghana Limited, sponsors of the event.
There was also a sponsorship package and a scholarship award for a trip to the United States for the two best students among the group.
President Mahama said community interest in schools had resulted in schools that were scoring zero per cent in the BECE turning round to score between 70 and 80 per cent.
He said as his direct representatives in the districts, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) must play active roles in the management of schools.
“Let me say that MMDCEs will be judged by the performance of their schools,” he said.
Stressing that the growth of the country depended much on education, the President explained that, that accounted for why the government continued to spend one-third of the national budget on education.
While it played its part, he said, it was important that other stakeholders contributed their part in advancing the cause of education.
He said the performance of this year’s award winners, as well as many others who performed creditably but did not have the opportunity to receive awards, testified to the fact that Ghana has a bright future.
The Minister of Education, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, said the government had demonstrated tremendous commitment to improve access to quality education and improving the lot of teachers.
So far, she said, 25,000 laptops had been distributed to teachers, while 50,000 teachers had been trained to teach information technology.
The minister urged students to make good use of the available facilities provided for their schools.
She said since the Presidential Independence Awards were instituted in 1993, a number of the awardees had gone ahead to become responsible citizens.
Children’s message to President
In their message to the President, Ghanaian schoolchildren commended him for his determination to construct 200 community day SHSs across the districts.
In the message presented in Twi, Ga, Gonja, Ewe and English by representatives of schoolchildren, they stressed the good work the government was doing and appealed to the President to motivate teachers to continuously put in their best.