Duke of Edinburgh’s Int’l forum underway in Accra

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex (2nd left), explaining a point in a book to President Akufo-Addo after the ceremony in Accra
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex (2nd left), explaining a point in a book to President Akufo-Addo after the ceremony in Accra

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the government’s commitment to invest in young people through the free senior high school (SHS) programme will be combined with morality and character training to make the youth fit for responsible roles.

He noted that formal education not grounded on a solid foundation of morality, aided by the development of personal character, would render the youth unfit to take their positions in future.

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President Akufo-Addo stated this when he opened the 13th edition of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards forum hosted by the Head of State Awards Scheme of Ghana in Accra yesterday.

The forum attracted personalities from over 130 countries, including the Earl of Wessex of the United Kingdom, Prince Edward, and a former Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Mr Paul Boateng.

The forum in Accra, the first in West Africa, is on the theme: “Sharing our future, shaping the world”.


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Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

The awards, which push young people to their personal limits and recognise their achievements, are available to 14-24-year -olds and are the world’s leading youth achievement awards that equip young people for life, regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests.

President Akufo-Addo said the Head of State Awards Scheme of Ghana was also collaborating with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards forum in offering holistic learning and training needed by the youth for life’s journey.

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He was of the belief that those at the gathering believed in the transformative power of education and expressed his passion for young people, which he said was manifested in various policies and programmes.

That investment in young people, the President contended, was not misplaced, “as it was the best investment the country could make”.

President Akufo-Addo in a handshake with Mr Paul Boateng (right), Chairman of the Awards International Council

President Akufo-Addo said each youth reminded him of the fact that leaders and the citizenry must work harder to ensure that knowledge became the backbone of the modern economy and prosperity.

Plan

The President said the Head of State Awards Secretariat, which is currently under the Office of the President and responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards in Ghana, was working to map out a plan along the three strategic pathways of reach, impact and access.

He explained that that was to reach a minimum of 500,000 young people within a period of five years and equip them with the requisite skills and prepare them for life, and said that was the government’s modest contribution to make those Ghanaian youth ready to help shape the world today and in the future.

President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the donation by and contribution of volunteers and donors to the scheme and the 2018 forum and urged them to sustain the partnership to help create a generation of skilled and well-rounded youth for Ghana and the world.

Prince Edward

The Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards Foundation, Prince Edward, said the forum was about how to come up with effective strategies to help young people around the world realise their potential and contribute to the development of the world.

He called on stakeholders to continue to collaborate in their programmes and intensify their exchanges on views and the discussion of issues on how best to assist the youth.

Mr Boateng, for his part, described President Akufo-Addo as an embodiment of the maxim of Dr Kwegyir Aggrey, which acknowledges that ‘only the best is good enough for Africa’, and commended Ghana for successfully hosting the forum.