Thirty students drawn from the 10 regions of the country have received awards from President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for their academic excellence in the 2017 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Out of the 30 awardees, four are students with special needs; two visually impaired and two with hearing impairment.
Each student took home a citation, certificate, plaque, a gold medal, a Samsung tablet, one-year supply of Nestle products, a book supply from EPP Bookshop and GHȼ1,000.00 cash.
Speaking at a colourful ceremony in Accra to present the awards, President Akufo-Addo said education was key to development and democratic growth of every country, hence the rollout of the free Senior High School (SHS) programme, as well as other initiatives to ensure that all children of school going age have access to education.
“When children fall through cracks it holds back the growth and development of the country as well as the fight against the nation’s quest to reduce illiteracy rate,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that government had rolled out a roadmap for the implementation of a five-year strategic plan for the country’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
The move, he explained, would transform the country’s labour force to create employment and enhance productivity.
While urging the awardees to learn hard, the President praised the parents for their support and encouraged them to continue supporting the children by providing them with the necessary resources to be able to complete their education.
Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, Minister of Education said every child had a right to education and that, no child should lack education due to poverty.
He said in years past, as many as 11,000 students could not get access to public SHS but as government implemented the free education programme, some 90,000 children have had access to SHS.
The Minister of Education announced that plans were far advanced to timely deliver teaching and learning materials to schools to facilitate teaching and learning.
Mrs Freda Duplan, Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, said the company has for the past 25 years been the lead sponsor of the Awards, keeping a tradition of a strong commitment to education delivery and sports at the basic level in Ghana.
She noted that the company was implementing a WASH project to promote safe water and sanitation across communities in Ghana.
Mrs Duplan said the company would soon introduce Nestle Healthy kids to promote healthy lifestyle among school children.
The Presidential award was instituted in 1993, to award scholarship to deserving BECE graduates.
Originally, 10 students from each of the 10 regions were awarded until 2001, upon a suggestion from the Ghana Education Service; the number was increased to 20 to give it a gender perspective for a boy and a girl each from the 10 regions.