President Akufo-Addo and others at the summit
President Akufo-Addo has justified his decision to invest so much in education, especially for the youth. He sees it as key to the country’s development.
Delivering a keynote address at the 2017 World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar yesterday on the theme, “Asset over Burden – Education for Refugee Youth,” he indicated, “What the evidence from history and the experience of many countries have shown is that it is not natural resources that build nations.”
Instead, he emphasized, “It is people who build nations; it is not gold, cocoa, diamonds, timber or oil that is going to build Africa.”
If it was, he indicated, “it would have done so already” insisting that “it is Africans, especially the youth of today, who are going to build Africa.”
It is for this reason, he told the gathering, that Ghana, under his administration, has placed a premium on education, leading up to the introduction of the ‘Free SHS’ policy.
“All this is being done because we want to throw open the doors of opportunity and restore hope to our young people, and help build a new African civilisation, governed by the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability, which will provide the basis for the new Africa of prosperity and dignity, no longer dependent on aid or charity,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
The president indicated that this is not the case for the 66 million people forcibly displaced all over the world – out of which some 23 million are described as refugees.
“The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a report, notes that ‘refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. Only 50 per cent of refugee children have access to primary education, compared with a global average of more than 90 per cent,’” he said.
President Akufo-Addo indicated, “The gap, according to the same report, widens, as these children become older, ‘with only 22 per cent of refugee adolescents attending secondary school, compared to a global average of 84 per cent. At the higher education level, fewer than one per cent of refugees attend university, compared to 34 per cent at global level.’”
This, the president stated, is not right, as “the spectre of tens and tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent