President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented awards to 24 students who emerged as the overall best students in the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination.
The award which was instituted in 1993 to award scholarship to deserving BECE candidates forms part of activities to mark the nation’s 62nd Independence anniversary celebrations.
Every year, the best two BECE candidates from each region are honoured with the President’s Award. This year 20 candidates were honoured including some visually impaired students who excelled.
The prizes for each of the award winners, who are currently in senior high schools, included a gold medal, a Samsung tablet, a certificate signed by the President, products from Nestle Ghana Limited for one year, books from EPP Books Limited and a cash prize of ¢1000.
In his address President Nana Akufo Addo congratulated the award winners for their excellence. He noted that efforts by these students does not only inspire him but also reminds him to work harder to ensure that knowledge and skills become the back bone of the country. This he said is the surest way to ensure the development of the country.
“These students have brought considerable joy and pride to their families, schools, communities, and to themselves. I am inspired because I know I am looking into the eyes of our country’s future” he noted.
He stated that government believes in quality education hence the introduction of new policies in the education sector. He said as he stated in the 2019 state of the Nations Address, a new curriculum will be used by Kindergarten and primary schools across the country come September 2019.
This new system is expected to “make education in Ghana the best quality and fit for the needs of the 21st century.”
According to the President the new curriculum has been drawn from “best practice all over the world.”He said since there are no shortcuts to having an educated and skilled workforce, the new curriculum will focus on making Ghanaian children confident innovative, creative thinkers, digitally literate and well-rounded patriotic citizens.
Mathematics, Science, Reading, Writing and creativity are therefore the heart of this new curriculum,” he said.
He said poverty should not be an excuse for any Ghanaian child not to reach their potential. “it therefore, warms my heart that we are able to say education in the public sector is free from kindergarten to Senior High School.”
Government, according to President Akufo-Addo, recognises the important role of the teacher, and that is why all Colleges of Education are being upgraded to University colleges affiliated to five of the nation’s public universities.
“In September last year, we introduced a 4-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree programme to replace the Diploma in Basic Education. Ultimately, this means that a first degree will be the minimum requirement for teaching at any level of our education system. We have also conducted the maiden teacher licensure examination, to ensure that potential teachers acquire a professional license and meet national teaching standards of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required to deliver quality education in our schools,” he added.
He was happy about the the maiden teacher licensure examination result saying that out of the 28,767 teachers 21,297 passed “believes this is a healthy beginning” he said.
He challenged the award winners to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities being afforded them in the years ahead, imploring that “as you accept these awards and urged them to remain grounded, honest and modest, as they strive for excellence.
He thanked Nestlé for continuously contributing to supporting academic excellence in Ghana.
As the country prepares to mark its 62nd Independence Day Anniversary he called on all to celebrate the day in peace and eschew any act of divisiveness and self centeredness.