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General News of Monday, 20 June 2011

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Education Will Serve As A Catalyst For Economic Transformation - Akufo-Addo

The 2012 presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that his vision for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy will be anchored by the transformation of the Ghanaian educational system which will lead to the development of skills and jobs for the Ghanaian.

Nana Addo made this known in an address at a town hall meeting convened in his honour at the Dominion Centre, in North London, where party faithful and Ghanaians alike gathered to listen to the NPP flagbearer.

With the Dominion Centre literally packed with 2,231 Ghanaians, this event passed off as, probably, the largest townhall meeting ever held for a political party in London.

According to Nana Addo, Ghana’s educational system is currently in a crisis adding that it was not serving the developmental needs of the country. In his opinion, Ghana’s educational system was pulling Ghana backwards rather than moving the country forward.

“150,000 young Ghanaians are thrown out of Junior High School without any unemployable skills. In addition, 64% of students at the basic level can neither read nor write. 250,000 SHS graduates are being thrown into the streets every year without gaining any employable skills. Our polytechnics churn out 75% of graduates with a humanities orientation and just 25% in the technical areas”, Nana Addo stated.

He asked, “How can you build a modern society with this? It is impossible”.

To arrest this situation, the NPP flagbearer stated that the least that a society can give its youth are education and skills for jobs adding that education is the key to unleashing the talents of Ghanaians needed to vigourously pursue the agenda of transforming the Ghanaian economy.

According to the NPP flagbearer, Ghana we must not compromise in her commitment to provide for every Ghanaian child access to quality education, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth if, among other things, the country is to industrialize.

“We need to prepare our people and empower them with the confidence and skills to become champions in this new and exciting, competitive Africa”, Nana Addo noted.

Nana Addo explained that an NPP administration would redefine the concept of basic education in Ghana.

According to the NPP flagbearer, basic education would no longer be the first exit point for basic education adding that an Akufo-Addo led NPP administration will introduce a policy that will make Senior High School part of the basic school system and, therefore, the first point of exit for every child in Ghana.

In this light, Nana Addo stated that an expansion of the educational infrastructure and putting the needs of the teacher and hence the quality of tuition for the Ghanaian child, rich or poor.

Nana Addo also revealed that his administration would pass legislation which would ensure that a significant and constant percentage of Ghana’s GDP was dedicated to education.

“The current situation, which has seen the percentage of GDP devoted to education decreasing gradually since 2009 and spending in key social interventions, like the school feeding programme and capitation grant, suffering cuts do not show a nation serious about its future”, Nana Addo explained.

Nana Addo continued, “This educational transformation will support the transformation of the Ghanaian economy. We cannot continue being an economy that cannot grow enough jobs and one that is only a producer of raw materials. We want our people to be evolutionary and not revolutionary”.

According to the Nana Addo, the world is waiting for an African success story, and under the right leadership Ghana can certainly provide that leadership. An Akufo-Addo leadership of Ghana, in his opinion, will certainly lead to Ghana becoming that African success story.

The NPP flagbearer also took the chance to defend his campaign strategy of meeting with Ghanaians in the Diaspora and solicit their support because of the tremendous contributions they make to all facets of the Ghanaian economy.

“Some people criticise this decision, arguing that the campaign is restricted to the geographical territory called Ghana. I disagree. I consider your contribution to the development of Ghana as equally important. The taxes that you pay at the ports when you ship things home form a big part of government revenue”, Nana Addo explained.

He went on further to reveal that Ghanaians remit annually over $1.5billion (1.04 billion Euros), adding that in the first quarter of this year alone, the Bank of Ghana puts the value of private remittances at $674.8million (470million Euros).

He continued, “This is why accountability by government should extend to you as well, not just to the people living within the geographical territory”.

Present at the meeting were Yaw Osafo Maafo, a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Joe Ghartey, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ursula Owusu, NPP parliamentary candidate for Ablekuma South, Iddrisu Musah Superior, parliamentary candidate for Tamale Central, Hon Daniel Dugan, parliamentary candidate for Shai Osu Doku, Marlon Anipa, parliamentary candidate for Hohoe North.