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Entertainment Mon, 1 Nov 2004

Conference on education for cultural heritage development opens

Accra, Nov 1, GNA - The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Monday called for a comprehensive programme plan of action for education in cultural heritage development in Africa.

He said the uniqueness and identity of the African was derived from the rich heritage, which was the authentic foundation of the existence of the people and the continent and it was important to recognise the contributions made by its forbearers to the building of their civilization.

The Vice President made the call in a speech read for him by Mr. Joe Donkor, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MOEYS) at the opening of a five-day conference on education for cultural heritage development.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama said though African countries were blessed with numerous valuable cultural assets such as artefacts and institutions, they were faced with several challenges including management, safeguarding and promotion.

"The current globalisation processes in which contemporary societies are involved in a dynamics of lost and re-invention of meanings, signs, symbols and values needs to be addressed to bring back Africa's true history," he said.

He urged all traditional institutions to put their house in order, adding, "we need to gear ourselves in pursuing an agenda towards creating the necessary confidence in what is indigenous and thereby asserting our dignity to provide hope for our people and the future generation."

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He said government had agreed on a National Cultural Policy for Ghana, which would serve as a guide to action and lead to the resurgence of the nation's national culture.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama said it would require instilling of pride and confidence as well as raising consciousness about the importance and positive attributes of Africa's indigenous traditions and customs to reflect present circumstances.

Professionals, museuologists, educationists and officers of specialised international, regional and sub-regional organisations from the sub-region are attending the conference, which would re-visit existing experiences of education on cultural heritage, to redress the balance between cultural heritage and development.

It was organised by (UNSECO) in collaboration with the National Commission on Culture.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of Essikado Traditional area, said "the histories and heritage of Africans and indeed of the global African family were indelibly articulated in our contemporary lives through indigenous forms of cultural and artistic expressions."

He related the current indiscipline among societies to lack of knowledge and respect for some cultural practices that otherwise could have instilled discipline in society.

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He stated that gone were the days when children were thought to obey without question, therefore there was much respect for the elderly, but rights, which had their own negative side effects, had replaced the trend.

Nana Nketsia said the current cultural heritage of the African continent was being torn into shreds by current globalisation and the need to enhance the teaching and learning of culture at the basic school level was paramount.

"Children would be thought to obey their elders as well as respect the law as it was in the olden days," he said.

Mrs. Elizabeth Moundo, Director UNESCO Ghana, said since most African countries did not have minerals such as diamonds, gold or oil, it was important that they preserved and developed their cultural assets to fight poverty and win the challenges of development.

She stated that preserved cultural assets could serve as a source of foreign exchange earning for a nation and its people and called on the youth to become active and committed defenders of Africa's cultural heritage for posterity.

Source: GNA