Akufo-Addo launches 2018 Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award scheme

BY: Victor Kwawukume

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has re-affirmed his commitment to the non-formal education of the Ghanaian youth by placing the Heads of State Award scheme under the direct supervision of the presidency in order to ensure that it received more support to bring enhanced benefits to more Ghanaians youths.

The President said the youth constituted the future of the country and its greatest asset and that it was important that they developed the skills and confidence to tackle life’s challenges.

That, he said, required the appropriate values to make them good citizens and that could only be attained when they were armed with the requisite skills.

President Akufo-Addo said this when he launched the 2018 edition of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Forum which is on the theme “Shaping Our Future; Shaping Our World at the Flagstaff House in Accra today, Thursday, March 29, 2018.

“To emphasise my commitment towards non-formal education of our young people, I am placing the Head of State Awards, under the direct supervision of the presidency and it is my pledge to resource it adequately to empower the scheme reach out to even more youth in all parts of our country.

Ambitious scheme

In addition, the President said, he had set up an ambitious scheme for the board of the scheme to reach out to a minimum of 500 youths by the year 2020.

“I am passionate about young people. Through policies implemented by my administration over the last 14 months, it is clear that our commitment to investing in young people is not misplaced, as it is the best investment we can make,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He stressed that as Chief Patron of the scheme, he would fight to ensure its realization with the support of the Chief of Staff, Ms Frema Opare Osei.

The President maintained that Ghana’s golden age was not in the past but that it was yet to come.

“How can we not hope for a golden future when we are blessed with such enormous wealth and human potential? I place great hope in their potential to shape the future of Ghana and to make the Black Star shine and shine,” he posited.

President Akufo-Addo, who launched the event on the occasion of his birthday, said the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award scheme had been in place since his father’s (the late Edward Akufo-Addo) time as Prime Minister of the country and had now come to be known as the Head of State’s Award in Ghana.

The President said the launch was a precursor to the bigger event to be held later in the year and that Ghana would play host to over 300 delegates including business executives from the 130 member countries across the world.

Commitment to youth education

He said the award had been active in Ghana for the past 50 years and was responsible for equipping many young Ghanaians with the experiences aimed at propelling them for life.

The programmes under the scheme, according to the President Akufo-Addo, were tailored towards instilling the virtues of discipline, civil responsibility and obligations of leadership among the youth.

The President said his administration had recognised fully, the importance of education for the growth and development of the country.

That was why, he said, the government last year implemented the free SHS education policy that covered all pupils that gained admission to public senior high schools, whether secondary, vocational or technical.

“Nonetheless, it remains a fact that learning does not occur only in the classroom. Formal or academic learning, which is not grounded in solid foundations of morality, and sense of civic duty, can render our young people unfit to take up the positions as patriotic future citizens and leaders of the country,” the President said.

It was the position of President Akufo-Addo that opportunities for communal involvement could further enhance character formation and development and that was what the awards scheme offered.

A fellow of the awards scheme, Mr Albert Essien, stressed the need for Ghanaian business persons to come onboard and help promote the education of the Ghanaian youth.

In doing so, he said, not only would they be contributing to national development but would also be ensuring that the needed expertise were available for the next generation of Ghanaians.