Thirty-six students were honoured at this year’s President’s Independence Day Awards ceremony in Accra on March 2, 2022.
They were made up of two students – a male and a female – from each of the 16 regions who were the best in last year’s BECE, as well as four best male and female students with visual and hearing challenges selected based on their BECE raw scores.
Each award winner was presented with a citation and a medal. Later, each will receive an electronic tablet and Nestle products.
Nestle Ghana Limited sponsored the awards.
In an address, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo asked Ghanaians to eschew all acts of divisiveness and self-centredness, which had the tendency to take the country backward.
“We must have the pride to acknowledge that we have made positive strides and we must also have the humility to appreciate that we still have some way to go,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo noted that as the country celebrates its 65th Independence anniversary, “we must have the patience to accept that just as our fight for freedom and independence was not achieved in a day, so also national prosperity will not come overnight”.
He noted, however, that the government was building a solid foundation for the economic take-off of the country, and that in peace and unity, a new Ghanaian civilisation would be built to the admiration of Africa and the world.
President Akufo-Addo advised the award winners not to allow current successes to get into their heads because the recognition was only the beginning, and that they must continue to work hard in order to maintain their standards.
“Know that you can go as far as you want by remaining diligent and hardworking and holding on to a strong moral compass. Honesty and integrity are important values in any worthwhile existence,” he said.
The President gave an assurance that the government would continue to take the education of Ghanaian children seriously through continuous investment in the sector to help secure our country’s future.
He said the free Senior High School (SHS) policy had led to 1.6 million children benefitting from secondary education.
“Government believes strongly that education, knowledge and talent are not for the rich and privileged alone, and that free secondary education offers some opportunities to every child, especially the development of those whose talents are arrested because of poverty,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that the government was determined to complete the transformation of the country into a modern 21st century nation that remained distinctly and uniquely Ghanaian.
He said the government had commenced the construction of 20 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres across the country, with all at various stages of completion.
He stated that the completion of nine model SHSs in the country was imminent.
The President said this year, the free SHS programme would be expanded to cover all first-year students in public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.
He said the programme of implementing the various reforms and projects in the TVET sector, including the rehabilitation and upgrading of technical universities, upgrading and modernisation of the 34 National Vocational Training Institutes (NVTIs), retooling of TVET institutions and the establishment of 10 state-of-the-art TVET institutes was on course.
“These interventions are geared towards the growth and development of Ghana. We’re preparing for the birth of a prosperous society, a society which creates opportunities for all its citizens, rewards creativity and enterprise, honesty and hard work,” President Akufo-Addo added.
He challenged the award winners to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities that would be afforded them in the years ahead and also remain grounded, honest and modest as they strived for excellence.
The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Adutwum, commended the award winners and expressed gratitude to the headmasters and teachers who supported the students to achieve the feat.
He explained that recipients of the awards were selected based on their raw scores obtained in the BECE.
He added that the President’s Independence Day Awards, established in 1993, continued to provide scholarships each year for young brilliant students between the ages of 14 and 19 from all the regions of Ghana who wrote the BECE and came out with distinction.