President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the only way to create a society of opportunities for the youth, empower them to confront the challenges of this globally competitive world, and, at the same time, realise the 17 UN SDGs, is to guarantee for them access to education.
Lending Ghana’s voice in support, at the launch of the United Nation’s Youth Strategy, on Monday, 24th September, 2018, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “that is exactly what we are doing in Ghana, through our policy of Free Senior High School education.”
Associating himself with comments made by the late former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, who rejected the characterization of the youth as a “disinterested, insular group”, the President stated that “I want to help ensure that our energetic, restless young population, who demand the best in the world, get the best.”
Ghanaian and African youth, he stressed, “are not in a mood to wait for the dividends from a slow progression, as the hazardous trek across the Sahara vividly illustrates.”
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering of Heads of State that his administration beginning September last year, removed one of the biggest obstacles that stood in the way of Ghanaian youth accessing education, i.e. cost.
“The Free SHS policy ensured that, in September 2017, the first year of its implementation, ninety thousand (90,000) more Ghanaian youth gained access to Senior High School, than in 2016. This year, the number has doubled, with one hundred and eighty thousand (180,000) more young men and women entering Senior High School,” he said.
The President continued, “We are also investing in our institutions of learning, which are the providers of skills and education to our young people. No nation can afford to marginalise the youth, the very group that makes up the chunk of its labour force. Education is the key.”
With access to education helping in the growth of democracy and political stability, he added that it is also allowing citizens, particularly young ones, learn about their rights and responsibilities, and helping them acquire the requisite skills and knowledge to exercise them.
“If we are to ensure that the UN Youth Strategy succeeds, then, together, let us guarantee the youth of our respective countries, irrespective of the circumstances of their birth, unfettered access to education,” he said.
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo assured, will continue to remain an active and dedicated partner to the United Nations in the implementation of this strategy.
“Through the UN Youth Strategy, we have, essentially, made a pact with both present and future generations to leave them a better legacy than we inherited from our forebears. Let our generation be at the measure of history,” he added.