Some years ago, he indicated, schools that were missionary-funded used to be easily distinguished by the behaviour of their students, and by the orderly nature of their campuses. “They stood out, and we all took pride in them he noted.”
In this day and age however, he said the trend is different and for which reason he has stressed the need for the church to play a leading role in the early childhood education sector.
President Akufo-Addo noted, “The values of the church are desperately required in this critical sector.”
He made the call during the 8th Biennial General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Ghana, in Accra yesterday.
He therefore believes that the churches have a proven track record in the early childhood education sector and therefore stressed the urgent need for them to catch the children young – before they are seven – and mould the men and the women that would build a successful Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo underscored, “Today, more than ever, the traditions of discipline and hard work that characterised the Presbyterian schools of old are needed in our country.”
He recalled with nostalgia the things that set apart the early Presbyterians in this country, talking about the Salems or Kpodzis, as they were known in the Bremen Presbyterian parts, saying, “These were the communities that developed around the early Presbyterian Churches around the country.
“The houses were well-laid out, they were clean and orderly, those who lived there obeyed the rules and regulations of the community, and there was a sense of communal responsibility. People genuinely believed in being one another’s keeper, and one could say that it, indeed, took the entire village, the community, to bring up a child.”
According to him, “They harvested rainwater; they took great care and were protective of the environment. They planted trees, vegetables and flower gardens. They were great proponents of educating the head, the heart and the hand, and when you established your first secondary school, Mawuli School, you gave it as the school motto: ‘Head, Heart and Hand.’ Even though they laid great emphasis on education, they were not afraid of working with their hands, and they produced scholars and artisans of great repute.”
These communities, the president added, celebrated success and everybody in the community took an interest in the schools and their managements.
Aside that, he indicated that the teachers were held in high esteem, but were also held accountable to the community, while noting with emphasis, “In other words, these communities were the epitome of what many people feel we lack today in our communities and in our nation; cleanliness and orderliness; a sense of communal responsibility and being one another’s keeper.”
To a request by the Moderator of the E.P. Church for support for two of the church’s schools in the Volta Region, the president said, “I hear you, Moderator. I hear you loud and clear about the sad state of Amedzofe College of Education and the Technical and Vocational Training School at Alavanyo.”
“Those are the areas that require urgent attention. I promise I shall alert the minister of education and urge him to put Amedzofe and Alavanyo on his ‘To-Do List,’” the President assured.
On his part, the Moderator of the E.P. Church, Rev. Dr Seth S. Agidi, said over the 170 years of its existence, the E.P. Church had been a trailblazer in the establishment of mission schools, colleges of education and recently, the first to establish a university of education in the Volta Region.
He however, lamented the deplorable conditions of the E.P. College of Education at Amedzofe and the E.P. Technical and Vocational Training School at Alavanyo saying, those two institutions were in serious infrastructural deficit.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent