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Speech delivered by Rev. Prof Emmanuel K. Larbi during the Anglican Junior High School, (Larteh-Akuapem's), Open Day Celebration and Fund-Raising Ceremony in Aid of ICT Laboratory Building Structure held on 30th March, 2012


Chair persons for the occasion
Nananom
The Clergy
Ag Director General of Ghana Education Service
Honourable Members of Parliament here present
Akuampem North Municipal Chief Executive
Students and parents
Distinguished invited guests
The media
Ladies and gentlemen:

I wish to thank the leadership of this school for the opportunity to be part of this very important occasion. In today’s world, quality education is the most important asset any one can acquire. For without a highly trained population, no nation can develop. Nations that fail to invest in education will continue to lag behind those that make quality education a priority for their citizens. 

Quality education is therefore the most important asset we can give to our children. It is precisely because of this, that as we continue to discuss issues affecting our education sector, we should not forget to concentrate on working for a system that will adequately prepare our children to enable them compete globally. It is by the same token that our nation can also compete globally.

We have gathered here today, among other things, to support the school to establish the much needed Computer Science laboratory for the school. Currently, this school, like most schools in the deprived areas of our country, does not have a computer laboratory; neither can it boast of a library or staff common room. 

The educational system in our country, like in most parts of Africa, are suffering from lack of the required facilities that will enhance learning and teaching, due to lack of effective long term planning. Unfortunately, over the years, access to basic and secondary education has moved along two parallel lines: one for the poor and the other for the well to do. The one for the poor belongs, primarily, to the rural folk and the inhabitants of some smaller towns and communities. The schools in these areas suffer constantly inadequate infrastructure, non-existent libraries and lab facilities, less qualified and poorly motivated staff. 

Children in these deprived areas do not have access to the same amount of information their counterparts in the well-endowed, mainly urban schools have before they write the national examinations. Most of them do not therefore do well at the national examinations, and they are unable to fully develop their potential because they don’t have access to quality education. They are therefore left below the social ladder to battle against the various challenges of life with inadequate resources.

Though over the years various governments in our country have made certain interventions, more often than not, these interventions, for various reasons, do not reach majority of the people in the deprived areas of our country. The bulk of the less-endowed schools continue to operate under various difficult conditions, and the gap between the well-endowed schools and the poorly endowed schools, continue to widen. 

But as humans, created by God in his own image, we have the capacity to bring about the necessary changes.

More often than not, we don’t get things done in our various communities, institutions, and indeed, our nation, precisely because of lack of leadership at various levels. Sometimes we fail to take charge or fail to assume responsibility over situations. Sometimes we just don’t do the right things or use the right methods. Sometimes we get our priorities wrong. At times we allow self-interest to override what is urgent, critical, and essential. Sometimes, we decide to do nothing; we abdicate responsibility and accept the abnormal as normal. Sometimes things do not happen in our communities just because we are not prepared to sacrifice or share what we have with others. 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the importance of today’s event cannot be over emphasised. Computer technology has radically transformed the way business is done in most of our world today. The UN, for instance, through the use of the intranet, is almost at the verge of becoming a paperless organisation. This has drastically reduced the use of stationery to the barest minimum. This revolution has brought about efficiency and the reduction of cost. Many organisations and institutions in other parts of the world are moving in this direction.

Ghana is yet to take advantage of the revolution taking place in the fields of information and communication technology. Computer literacy penetration in our country as a whole is still at its lowest ebb. Only a handful of the teachers in both our junior and senior high schools could confidently handle a computer. High ranking officials in both public and private sectors are not immune from this type of illiteracy. Our educational institutions are yet to show the way as they themselves are afflicted with the disease. I am not aware of any of the educational institutions offering distance education in our country that is fully utilising Information and Communication Technology as a tool. The way distance education was delivered some two to three decades ago has virtually remained the same. And we do not seem to be in a hurry to change the status quo.

For the nation to experience the benefit of computer technology revolution in every sector of our economy, our junior and senior high schools must be given more attention. The current efforts by the government to distribute 60,000 laptops to all basic level schools should therefore be seen as a step in the right direction. Efforts should however, be made to remove the current bottlenecks, and the slow-pace syndrome associated with this initiative. 

It is hoped that the presence of the Ag Director of Education, Mr Stephen Adu, at this function today, will go a long way to ensure that all the Junior High Schools in this town are not left behind in this current arrangement.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, nothing much happens without a vision; for any great thing to happen, there much be a great vision or a great dream. The Bible says “Where there is no vision the people perish,” or the people lose the sense of direction (Prov. 29:18). Indeed, behind every great achievement stands someone who dared to be different, someone who dared to challenge the status quo, and someone who dared to sacrifice for the benefit of society. Let’s dare to be different and make a difference in our communities; let’s dare to challenge the status quo, let’s dare to sacrifice for the benefit of this school, this town, our various communities and indeed our nation, Ghana.

Chairpersons, nananom, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much; may our good Lord bless our homeland Ghana, and may He make our nation great and strong; may He make us bold to defend forever, the cause of freedom and of right. May He make us see our political opponents not as enemies and detractors but as partners in development. May He help us to see the good in others so that we can give praise where praise is due. May he endow our leaders with grace, so that they can take us to our eagerly-anticipated promised land, for we have been in the wilderness for far too long. May He fill our hearts with true humility and the spirit of sacrifice and sharing. May He make us cherish fearless honesty. And may He help us to resist the oppressor’s rule with the strength and power that comes from him.

Thank you; may God bless us all.