President Akufo-Addo presenting The Most Disciplined Award to Abdulai Ubaida Napari
President Akufo-Addo could not hide his soft spot for the girl-child education when he went to the Krobo Girls’ Senior High School in the Eastern Region over the weekend to defend girls’ education.
The occasion was the 90 years’ anniversary of the establishment of the school.
He could not but yield to an appeal by the students and the headmistress of the school, Cecilia Obenewaa Appiah, for government to come to their aid for the construction of an 18-unit classroom block.
Minutes into his speech, the president asked the Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, to “see to the building of the 18-unit classroom block the headmistress is seeking” to a spontaneous applause from management, students and past students of the school.
He quoted the legendary Dr Kwegyir Aggrey’s famous statement which says, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a nation” to back his conviction.
President Akufo-Addo was of the firm conviction that “If we are to transform the lives of our people, if we are to transform our economy from a raw material producing and an exporting one to value added one, we need a literate population and“therefore, achieving excellence in girls’ education is a must if we are to shed the evils of poverty, ignorance and disease and put our country on a path of progress and prosperity.”
According to him, “Several studies across the world have indicated that investing in girls’ education is arguably the most effective measure any developing nation can employ to improve its standard of living.
“It is also widely acknowledged that educating girls, produces considerable social and welfare benefits such as lower infant mortality and fertility rates; again research has found out that a mother’s level of education has a direct influence on economic productivity of both the family and the nation.”
He quoted Ghanaian-born former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Anan, who said at the World Economic Forum in 2000 that “No development strategy is better than the one that involves women as central players; it has immediate benefit for nutrition, health, savings and re-investment at the family, community and ultimately at country level. In other words, educating girls is a social policy that works; it is a long-term investment that yields an exceptionally high return. We need those with power to change things to come together in an alliance for girls’ education; governments, voluntary progressive groups and above all, local communities, schools and families.”
Also present were Minister for Women, Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba; Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo – who is an alumni of the school; the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Reverend Cephas Hormenyo; Gladys Norley Ashitey, former MP for Ledzokoku and Deputy Minister of Health who is also an old student.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent