PUPILS OF the Ridge Church School last Saturday had the rare opportunity of learning about democracy and how the future of Ghana rests on them.
It was during the schoolâ€™s 55th annual speech and prize-giving day and the smiles on the faces of the pupils for the important date in the schoolâ€™s calendar spoke about their excitement.
Prize-giving as a feature of such occasions saw deserving pupils being recognized but perhaps the address by an old girl of the school, Jean Mensa, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) who charged the pupils to take education seriously as leaders of tomorrowâ€™s Ghana, added a special phase to the occasion given the subjects she tackled.
She told them that democracy and education were both about choice explaining to them that a good education gave one the ability to be and do anything one chose in life.
While education she said opened up pathways and created opportunities â€śthe very heart of democracy, is the right to exercise choices, just as the people of Ghana will be doing in this yearâ€™s elections.â€ť
As leaders of tomorrow with some of them becoming politicians, lawyers, engineers and journalists that will continue to build our nation she added â€śour future president may even be sitting here in this room today.Â That is why the quality of the education provided to your generation will determine the quality of the Ghana of tomorrow.â€ť
The majority of Ghanaians she noted would rather that all parliamentarians were well educated, preferably with university degrees. â€śThe value of education is something most Ghanaians would agree with.Â In fact the IEA recently completed a study that showed a majority of people believe parliamentarians should be well educated, and even be required to hold a university degree before being allowed to run for parliament.â€ť
As the leaders of tomorrow she told her young audience who listened attentively that â€śI hope you see the value in pursuing your personal academic development.â€ť
She schooled the kids about what she described as the complex machinery called government and how it runs other departments including the education system. Everybody she said was a part of this machinery by firstly choosing those who lead the country.
â€śYou see, there is a complex machinery that runs our education system. That machinery is the Government. And you know what, you and I; school children, parents, and teachers; are all a part of this machinery. We become part of it, first by participating in the process of electing those to lead our nation, and then by sharing our ideas with the leaders we have chosen, about how to ensure among other things that we have a strong educational system. This is why the election process is such an important one. And it is why the theme that your school has chosen for this yearâ€™s speech and prize-giving day is so important, for you, children of the Ridge Church School, and also for all school-children across all the regions of Ghana,â€ť she said
Robust Education System
While they are not of age and cannot vote in the forthcoming polls she told her young audience â€śyou will be the generation which inherits the Ghana that is shaped by the decisions made by those in power after December. This means that all of you, as much as anyone else in our nation, have a deep interest in the outcome of the upcoming election.â€ť
Ms. Jean Mensa charged the kids to speak to their parents about â€śthe importance of a robust education system.Â Tell them that they should demand that political representatives show how they are going to further develop the education system before allocating them their votes. In this way, you can have a voice, even if you canâ€™t yet vote.â€ť
She left them with words of the great American President Franklin Roosevelt: â€śDemocracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.â€ť
By A.R. GomdaÂ