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General News Sat, 30 Sep 2006

Legon students receive Head of State Award

Accra, Sept. 30, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment on Saturday said the nation's educational system had not responded to the needs of the youth. He said although the educational system had undergone reforms to make it more technically oriented, it had still not responded to the needs of the youth, adding 'The system made most of the youth unemployed as they drop out of the system, whilst others go through and graduate without a sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation.'

'What is even more disheartening is the fact that an increasingly majority of young people were having difficulty in starting a meaningful adult life. There is an urgent need for adult concern and guidance to avert a possible bleak future for most of our youth,' he added. Alhaji Boniface was speaking at the inauguration and presentation of Bronze Awards to 34 recipients of the University of Ghana Unit of the Head of State Award Scheme in Accra.

The Head of State Award Scheme-Ghana is the local version of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Association for Young People. The concept of the scheme is one of an individual challenge. It presents to young people a balanced, non-competitive programme of voluntary activities, that encourages personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community

Participation is entirely voluntary and the individual participant has a completely free choice in the selection of the locally available options within the four sections namely, expeditions, service, skills and physical recreation.

The minimum period of participation to gain an award of bronze is six months, 12 months for silver and 18 months and more for gold. Alhaji Boniface stressed the need for a systematic programme in the education system designed to add value to what the youth had learnt in school.

'This social mobilization and human capacity building is what is lacking in our efforts to make the youth respond positively to the challenges of the future. Stakeholders should network to change the system and help nurture the youth to face a better future.'

Alhaji Boniface said Government's development focus had shifted to building a formidable human resource base for the country, focusing on the youth development as the basis of Ghana becoming a middle income country by 2015.

'In order to achieve this, President John Agyekum Kufuor has challenged Ghanaians in the private and public sector, as well as civil society to put their shoulders on the wheel to achieve this objective,' he said.

Mrs Oboshie Sai Cofie, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation announced that Government had given approval for the release of more that 1.1 trillion cedis to begin the National Youth Employment Programme.

She said the programme to be launched on Tuesday, October 3 was to ensure the youth were engaged in employments that would keep them off the streets.

Mrs Sai Cofie said Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies had begun screening the youth and placing them in jobs.

Mr Jenkins Kwame Awumee, an elected member of the International Council of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, representing West and Central Africa said the scheme was committed to expanding the programme to benefit most young people throughout the country.

He said the scheme had not reached the physically challenged and street children due to lack of funds and appealed to Government and the private sector to support the scheme.
Source: GNA