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General News of Friday, 31 August 2007

Source: GNA

Kufuor Challanges Youth

Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor, has challenged the country's youth to set their sights on the attainment of excellence to raise the nation to a dignified place in the global village. "The world is acknowledging the great strides that Ghana is making and it is up to you to sustain them," he said at the celebration of the National Day of the Ghanaian Child in Accra, on Friday. President Kufuor, who expressed confidence in the youth, reminded them that as younger members of society, they must prepare themselves well to carry the nation forward in the near future as responsible adults.

They have to work diligently at goals they set for themselves, must be disciplined, have fellow feeling and should be God-fearing. The Day, was on the theme: "Ghana @ 50, Children and the Future" and brought together children from all the 10 Regions of Ghana to interact with the President at the National Theatre.

President Kufuor spoke of the need for the redoubling of efforts of society to rally to the protection and nurturing of the youth to give them a fair chance for an all round development.

This responsibility, he said, must be undertaken as a critical investment in the sustenance and strengthening of the social fabric and generational chain without which, the country's future would be imperilled.

"This is the challenge to all the responsible adults of our society", he said, and pledged the government's determination to provide the necessary leadership.

President Kufuor enumerated policies and measures that were being pursued to facilitate the development of the country's children through adolescence to adulthood, mentioning among these, the implementation of the new Educational Reform, establishment of the Women and Children's Ministry, immunization, de-worming of school children and vitamin A supplementations, distribution of treated bed nets and support for orphaned and the destitute.

He said the government was giving due attention to the proper upbringing of the child and that this was evidenced from the vigorous building and rehabilitation of primary and junior secondary schools, including Kindergartens.

More than 5,000 schools had been put up throughout the country within the past six years.

President Kufuor observed that the child was being assailed by many different cultures through television, radio and the internet and called on society to continually devise social education mechanisms for the child's protection.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, said Ghana had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on gender parity with regard to schools enrolment.

Professor Jophus Anamua Mensah, Vice Chancellor, University of Education, Winneba, who chaired the function, said the Education Reform offered an opportunity for the youth to develop the right skills and attitudes to become productive.

Master Emmanuel Donkor from the Central Region in a statement read on behalf of the country's children conveyed their appreciation to the government for the capitation grant and the school-feeding programme, which he said, had put more children in schools and pleaded that these should continue.

The children also called for the establishment of Child Panels in all the districts as provided for by Act 650 of the Constitution to handle offences involving children in a friendly manner.