President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented awards to 24 students who excelled in the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
The occasion was this year’s edition of the President’s Independence Day Awards that was held in Accra on Friday.
The awardees comprised two from each of the previous 10 regions who topped in the 2018 BECE, and four others with special learning needs who braved the odds to achieve excellence in the examination.
They were Christabel Akwaah Asante and George Kofi Adu, currently at Wesley Girls’ Cape Coast and PRESEC Boys SHS, Legon, from the Ashanti Region; Sandra Asraa Agyapong and Albert Dwamena Afriyie of the Sunyani SHS and St Peters’ SHS respectively, Brong Ahafo; Esi Ndou Adjei of Wesley Girls’ SHS and Perry Aborah Frempong of PRESEC Boys, Legon, Central Region; Richael Nkrumah Arthur and Edmund Opoku-Afreh of Wesley Girls’ SHS and PRESEC Boys, Legon respectively; Eastern Region. Nana Ama Adjei-Twum, currently a student of Wesley Girls, and Seth Aduhene, Accra Academy, for the Greater Accra Region.
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The rest were Huda Adam and Kesson Nyankpani Abdul-Quddus currently at St Louis SHS and PRESEC Boys, Legon respectively, Northern Region; Comfort Assibi Akwaafo of Holy Child SHS and Peter Alahari Akurugu of Prempeh College, Upper East Region; Benedicta Afia Pokuaa Owusu of Tamale SHS and James Jorkpietey of Nandom SHS, Upper West Region, Roselena Afia Quainoo and Prince Korsi Awutey at Achimota SHS and PRESEC Boys, Legon respectively, Volta Region, and Winifred Korankye Amoah of Wesley Girls and Edwin Baidoo Mfantsipim School, who represented the Western Region.
Those with special needs who were honoured were Anita Badu and Theophilus Elorm Dzirakor, currently students of the Akropong School for the Blind, and Freda Owusuwaa Yeboah and Prosper Adjei of the Mampong School for the Deaf and Dunkwa SHS respectively.
Each of them received a shield, GH¢1,000, yearly supply of Nestle Products, books and stationery from Kingdom Books and Stationary and a tablet.
Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo called on Ghanaians to eschew all acts of divisiveness, self-centredness and other tendencies that retard the forward march of the country.
He urged that as the country celebrates its 62nd independence from colonial rule on March 6, Ghanaians must have the pride to acknowledge the strides made so far, and the humility to appreciate that there was still a long way to go to reach the expected height.
The President said he was inspired because the awardees represented the future of the country and that his government would redouble efforts and work extremely hard to ensure that knowledge and skill became the backbone of the economy.
He stated that one of the reasons the government introduced the free SHS was to ensure that education did not become the preserve of the rich and privileged.
President Akufo-Addo said the investment made in the educational sector required the development of a new curriculum that would offer the young people an education that would position them to compete on the global stage, and added that to realise this, a new curriculum would soon be rolled out.
He explained that the new curriculum was drawn from best practices across the globe and would make the children confident, innovative thinkers, digitally literate and well rounded patriotic citizens.
President Akufo-Addo stated that Mathematics, science, reading, writing and creativity, were at the heart of this curriculum.
With regard to the teacher, he said the government recognised the important role the teacher played in achieving the set target in education, for which reason all Colleges of Education were being upgraded to university colleges, affiliated to the five public universities.
The President challenged the awardees to take advantage of the wide ranging opportunities that would be afforded them in their three years in SHS and urged them to be grounded in honesty and modesty, as they strive for excellence.
He acknowledged the important roles played by their teachers, parents and families and said they had collectively nurtured and invested in them (students) and they deserved to share in their glory and honour.
He also commended Nestle for sponsoring the award programme over the last 16 years .
For his part, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said the government was committing resources and embarking on reforms towards attaining best quality teaching and learning outcomes that would make the Ghanaian student better.
The Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, Ms Philomena Tan, said the company was committed to providing quality products and also support the educational sector to grow.
She said the Milo Inter School Football Competition, which Nestle sponsored, had seen young people graduating from the competition to join the National Under 17 Team.