THE ADMINISTRATOR OF GETFUND AT THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY AND FIRST SPEECH AND PRIZE- GIVING DAY OF AGONA SENIOR HIGH TECHNICAL SCHOOL

SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE GETFUND ON THE OCCASION OF THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY AND FIRST SPEECH AND PRIZE- GIVING DAY OF AGONA SENIOR HIGH TECHNICAL SCHOOL ON SATURDAY 4TH FEBRUARY, 2012
THEME: THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL & VOCATIONAL EDUCATION TOWARDS GHANA’S MARCH INTO MIDDLE INCOME STATUS.

Nana Chairman, the Hon. Minister of Education, Prof. Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor of KNUST and Guest Speaker, Nananom, Distinguished Guests, the Board of Governors of Agona Sec/Tech, the Headmaster and Staff, the Parent-Teacher Association, Past and Continuing Students, the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to thank the Board of Governors of the School and the Planning Committee for extending an invitation to me to be part of this celebration. The Board of Trustees and the Management of the GETFund extend very warmly to you their congratulations on the occasion of your 20th Anniversary and First Speech and Prize-Giving Day.

Nana Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,  the theme for this event; THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL & VOCATIONAL EDUCATION TOWARDS GHANA’S MARCH INTO MIDDLE INCOME STATUS, synchronizes very well with one of the themes the Board of Trustees and the Stakeholders of the Fund discussed at one its meetings at Sogakope early in 2010. At that meeting the Stakeholders affirmed, in very strong terms, the positive correlation between developing an oil economy in particular, and generally, an industry-based economy on one hand and Technical Education on the other. There is no doubt that this country can only sustain her new status as a lower middle income economy and possibly expand further into a fully-fledged middle income economy by strategically investing in technical education. We are told that Germany, arguably the strongest economy in the Euro-Zone today,  is supported very strongly by the quality and extent of its technically oriented manpower and we here in Ghana must not do any different.

Fortunately, Nana Chairman, the GETFund Act, ACT 581 of 2000, among some other areas recognizes Technical and Vocational Education, Mathematics and Science and Technology Education. In this respect the Board of Trustees in giving meaning to the remits of the ACT, over the last three years has implemented some strategic initiatives through the relevant education sector agencies like the COTVET to boost technical education. One of such initiatives has to do with encouraging the COTVET to re-engineer the courses pursued in our technical and vocational schools by realigning them with current needs and demands of industry. In doing this, the Stakeholders’ meeting at Sogakope urged the COTVET to also look carefully at the nomenclature given to the courses pursued in our technical schools and bring them in line with modern developments so as to make the marketing of such courses easy and also acceptable to prospective patrons. I wish Nana Chairman, to use the opportunity today’s event presents to appeal to both parents and students to consider in their choices, technical and vocational education.

The Board of Trustees following from the Strategic Meeting and the remits of the ACT alluded to above, made the highest allocation in percentage terms during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years to the Secondary Sub-Sector, which include Vocational and Technical Schools. In 2010 for instance, the sub-sector was allocated GHC106,519.000.00 representing 32.61% of the allocations for that year and in 2011 it received GHC119,257,000.00 representing 31.64% of allocations for the year. For the period 2009 to 2011 the sub-sector was allocated a total of GHC289,751,000.00. Out of this allocation the GETFund has complemented the efforts of the MOE by authorizing the award of contracts worth GHC 297, 000,000. 00 to build about 672 projects made up of classroom blocks, dormitories, science laboratories, staff accommodation and libraries. These investments have certainly opened up access for a lot more young people to enroll in our secondary schools.

Nana Chairman, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen as  a further boost to spur interest and motivate  students who are already studying science and technology oriented courses, the GETFund has been an active player in supporting Government in the implementation of the Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Scholarship Scheme [MASTESS]. This is a collaborative initiative between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology. The programme targets students in the secondary and tertiary institutions who are pursuing courses in the sciences and technical programmes. The GETFund has supported the programme with funds. Already about 6million Cedis has been put into it by the Fund. This money is intended to provide scholarships (bursaries) to the students.

Nana Chairman, it should be clear from the forgoing that the GETFund in its activities has been a strong supporter in the Nation’s quest to support technical and vocational education. We will continue to do this in the hope that a lot more Ghanaian youth will have the opportunity to choose technical and vocational programmes in their pursuit of knowledge thereby bettering their chances in competing favourably in a fast-changing knowledge-base economy.

Nanna Chairman, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to comment briefly on the Headmaster’s Status Report. The history of the early beginnings of Agona Secondary/Technical School as recounted in the report is not only exciting but also illuminating given the commitment of the community and the Parent Teacher Association in supporting the initiation, development and growth of the school over the last twenty years. Your efforts are commendable and deserving of support. Certainly, your choosing the education of your young people over other competing demands is a testimony of the value you place not only on education but also the future the youth of this area must aspire to. Since the GETFund alone cannot be a sustainable means of funding education in the country, support like what you have demonstrated here in this school never misses our commendation.

In respect of your efforts and in commemoration of the School’s 20th Anniversary, I am happy to announce that the GETFund has authorized the award of contract for the construction of a 2-Storey Girls’ Dormitory. This project is expected to commence as soon as the Regional Coordinating Council completes the procurement process and it is the expectation of the GETFund, that within 12 months of the award of the contract the project shall be completed. On this note Nana Chairman, I wish to congratulate the Management, Staff, Parents and Students of this school for the modest achievements chalked up over the last twenty years and wish you even greater achievements in the coming years.
Thank you!