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We need education for sustainable development — Prof. Agyekum

The Dean of the School of Performing Arts of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Kofi Agyekum, says for the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda to be successful, the country will need education and training that promotes sustainable development.

"This means that we should be training people who will find jobs and not training people who cannot find their way out if not being employed

"We need people who have effective education, critical thinking, people who can raise income and improve the standard of living. I’m talking about education for job and employability," Prof. Agyekum stated at the 71st New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana, Legon, last Thursday.

Contributing to the topic, "Behaviour, values and attitudinal change in support of the Ghana Beyond Aid," at a panel discussion, Prof. Agyekum called for the need to rely on indigenous knowledge to ensure the attainment of Ghana Beyond Aid.

Mother tongue

He said the use of the mother tongue as a means of communication was critical for effective communication and transmission of the ideals of the initiative.

"We need to use our mother tongue because it is the cognitive tool that enlightens the mind of the child," he said.

He criticised families that spoke the English Language with their children at home, adding that, "if you neglect the mother tongue, it goes against linguistic human rights."

Prof. Agyekum, known in some circles as “Opanyin Agyekum”, stated "We will understand Ghana Beyond Aid better if all the concepts and notions are explained to us in the language that we are more comfortable with."

Mental revolution, culture and tradition

Prof. Agyekum further called for mutual respect for the cultures and traditions across the country, which in his view, meant that "we should know how to wear our own clothes and we should eat our own food."

Prof. Agyekum added that for Ghana Beyond Aid to be relevant, there was the need to pay attention to the traditional system for governance and education.

He contended that before Western civilisation, "our chiefs were doing very well," recalling how the chief of his village could rally everybody around for communal work, “making us our brothers' keepers".

The professor also called for upholding socio-cultural values such as integrity, hard work, self-reliance, self-confidence and loyalty to the state if the initiative must succeed.

Organised religion

Contributing to the topic, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, said organised religion in the country had the "preponderous and onerous responsibility for the moral and ethical character formation of our fellow citizens if we are to attain Ghana Beyond Aid."

He said organised religion in collaboration with the government and other institutions should "consciously inculcate in Ghanaians the needed sense of pride, good self-esteem, hard work, the necessary sense of co-ownership, co-responsibility that we can make it here in Ghana."

Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle, therefore, reminded organised religion that it was its responsibility to educate the citizenry and to propagate the wholesome good values, behaviours and attitudes necessary for the attainment of Ghana Beyond Aid.

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