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Regional News of Thursday, 10 February 2005

Source: GNA

Minister calls for commitment to development of basic education

Accra, Feb 10, GNA - Mr Joseph Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, on Thursday urged his colleague ministers to commitment more resources in their regions to basic education to ensure that teachers were well motivated to sustain the drive in getting all children into pre-school institutions.

The minister, who contributing to the debate on the President's State of the Nation address, said ministers should play a key role in making incentive packages such as car loans, available to teachers in basic schools to make the idea of a kindergarten education for all children a reality.

Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, NDC-Mion, called for the bridging of the gap between rural and urban education to serve as a basis for the development of the human resource base.

He said it should be possible to appoint a minister to oversee the running of a rural education sector to address the imbalances between education in the rural and urban areas.

Dr Alhassan also touched on agriculture and said President Kufuor's vision of modernising the agricultural sector should be supported by investment in appropriate technology. Additionally, he said, credit facilities should be extended to small-scale farmers to enable them contribute more to the sector. He urged the government to fast track the President's Special Initiative on Cotton that is very important to the development of the northern regions.

Ms Shirley Botchway, NPP-Weija, touched on good governance and said it was important to empower people to ensure the equitable distribution of the national cake and the promotion of greater freedom.

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Deputy Minority Leader, said for the first time the Presidents message was without the" blame game usually associated with his speeches."

"The President is now maturing and has now seen that the blame game will not auger well for the nation".

Mr Adjaho said the idea of a kindergarten education mentioned by the President was a noble idea that must be pursued but had his doubts about the four-year SSS programme.

He suggested that the funds that will go into the additional year could be used for infrastructure developments for the basic schools.

''Quality education without the necessary infrastructure is not enough,'' he said, adding that developing the basic schools will go long way to promote a good foundation.

On the deregulation of petroleum products, Mr Adjaho advised that "issues concerning the economy should not be politicised or else it will consume us".

He said the government did not increase the price of petroleum in 2004 because it was an election year, "but now they are ready to increase it for the third time since the NPP came into power" "In 2001 the prices were increased, then in 2003 another increase of about 100 percent and now deregulation which will lead to an increase in petroleum prices".

On the situation in Togo Mr Adjaho commended the leaders of ECOWAS for condemning the way power was transferred to the son of late President Gnassingbe Eyadema and urged them to adhere to the principles of good governance within the sub-region.