The Wife of the Asantehene, Lady Julia Osei Tutu, has called on parents and community leaders in the Ashanti Region to take immediate steps to ensure that children engaged in illegal mining (galamsey) are enrolled in schools.
Expressing deep concern about the rate at which children who are expected to be in school have taken to working on illegal mining sites, Lady Julia said, "Education must be our gold mines and not galamsey sites."
"There shouldn't be any delay in working to get these children away from the dangerous grounds," she added.
She was speaking at functions in separate ceremonies in six communities in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region last Thursday when the Otumfuo Charity Foundation, in conjunction with Prof. Quarm Publications, presented science textbooks to about 2,000 primary schoolchildren in a number of towns and villages in the district.
The communities included Ahwerewa, Asuonwin, Moseaso, Abranse, Nsiena and Antoakrom.
Prof. Quarm Publications, a Kumasi-based publishing company of science textbooks, donated the books to the Otumfuo Charity Foundation to support the foundation’s education drive.
Amansie West is one district that is notorious for using children in illegal mining.
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Lady Julia said the children’s situation, which was very serious in the Amansie West District, was a dent on parents and community leaders, and stressed the need for action to be taken without any delay so that the children would be put in the classrooms.
Lady Julia pointed out that education was the key to accelerated national development and any community that downplayed it would be left behind.
“The world is not waiting for anyone (community or country) that treats education with contempt. It is education that drives our lives and all of us must work at advancing it,” she said.
She commended Mr Joseph Albert Quarm, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prof. Quarm Publications, for his interest in education and for embarking on a 120-bed hospital project for his native community, Nsiena.
The Ashanti Regional Director of Education, Mr Kofi Sarfo Kantanka, said Otumfuo’s interest in education should convince all people in the region to take education seriously.
Education, he said, did not matter where one came from, adding that “you can make it in the rural area if you study hard.”
For his part, Mr Quarm expressed regret about the massive destruction of farmlands in the district by Chinese illegal miners.
He promised to continuously support the improvement of education in the district.
The Chief of Payki No 1., Nana Gyamfi Mensah Bonsu, noted that the Otumfuo Education programme was progressively succeeding.
Story: Kwame Asare Boadu