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  • King Gyamfi of Ghana Addresses OE Teacher Conference

    Professional Education Seminar for Ghanaian Teachers

    Senior traditional ruler and chief, Nana (traditional name for chief) is one of Ghana's most prominent and respected lawyers. Dr Prempeh was the opening address at Opportunity Education Foundation Professional Development Seminar in Kumasi, Ghana July 2013. Dr Prempeh made the presentation in his official title and dress as Nana or chief of Kumasi Adontenhene.

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    Nananom, Distinguished Guests from the OEF and Louisiana College, Education Directors, delegates from the Education Directorate, Ladies and Gentlemen.

    It gives me great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome on behalf of the OEF and the Student and Youth Travel Organisation (SYTO) to this very important seminar.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Lord Mayor of London visited Angola, Nigeria and Ghana last month to assess potential business opportunities for the City of London in those three countries.

    His team reported on Ghana: Ghana is noted for its political stability and relative economic sophistication, with natural advantages of peace, democracy, literacy and geography; some see it as being at a transformational turning point en route to becoming a middle income economy.

    Education is central to maintaining that political stability, peace, democracy and raising the economic prospects for all Ghanaians.

    Whilst Ghana may be on the verge of an economic boom, however, we cannot deny that there is still a lot of poverty in our dear country and that a lot remains to be done to lift many households out of poverty.

    Education is key to delivering both the economic growth that many have foretold for Ghana and alleviating poverty in many parts of our dear country.

    For this reason, SYTO is very proud to be working with the OEF on its very impressive programme.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the OEF approach is very much a "hands on" one. OEF focuses on 4 or 5 key subjects (including Maths and Reading and Science) and enhances pupil attainment in these areas through "doing", "practice" and "encouragement".

    OEF provides educational materials and support to over 1,200 participating schools (known as Target Schools) in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

    The OEF website lists a total of 1,293 Target Schools in 11 countries ... As an aside, the OEF website is very impressive. It is both informative and easy to use and I encourage all of you here today to visit and use the website regularly.

    In addition to direct support for Target Schools and teaching staff in-country, the OEF helps Target Schools identify Sister Schools. Sister Schools are schools in wealthier countries that twin with Target Schools and who can then reach out to teachers and pupils in developing countries. A simple but very effective means of advancing the understanding of children on both sides of the relationship.

    The website lists OEF's Target Schools by country and number as follows: Tanzania 411 Uganda 397 India 139 South Africa 66 Zambia 43 Cameroon 40 Nepal 29 Sri Lanka 28 Lesotho 15 Sierra Leone 10 The Mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that whilst I said earlier that there are 1,293 projects in 11 countries, I have only listed 1,178 projects in 10 countries. That is because I omitted Ghana from the list because education in Ghana is the subject for us today.

    The OEF web page identifies 115 Target Schools in Ghana. In terms of numbers, Ghana therefore ranks 4th in the OEF list, after Tanzania, Uganda and India. The Ghanaian schools are located up and down the length and breadth of Ghana.

    Of all the Target Schools in all of the 11 countries, OEF has managed to attract Sister Schools for about 70% of them. Assuming that Ghana has a similar success rate, one of the things that I would very much welcome today is for those of us who are present here in Ghana to understand the challenges that OEF faces in getting a Sister School for a Target School here in Ghana and to share views with OEF on what we might be able to do to help increase the success rate here in Ghana.

    You may quite rightly ask why we should be seeking to support OEF's programme in Ghana. The Ghana Education Service reported in 2011 on the impact of OEF's involvement in the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District and noted that in the year 2008, enrolment in the 20 participating schools rose, attendance improved and reading ability was raised from 47% to 60%. In addition, performance of the pupils in SEA exams in those schools in Maths and English in 2010 was 75% and 65% against 55% and 50% in surveyed non-participating schools.

    16 schools, or so, in the Ashanti region have benefitted from the OEF programme. OEF is pressing on with its mission to extend support and assistance to more schools within the region in the near future.

    I therefore ask all of us here to join in an action-oriented effort to make the OEF programme in Ghana and in the Ashanti region a successful one.

    Turning to today's seminar, I believe this is a very opportune time to provide a platform to train our teachers in effective teaching methods. We have here today educationalists from the Louisiana College School of Education. They will be presenting a professional development seminar for educators from participating schools in the OEF's programme in Ghana.

    The programme for today will cover a wide range of essential topics relating to modern teaching strategies, developing and delivering effective lessons and creating a positive learning environment. Educators will have the opportunity to participate in different sessions designed to fit the age level of the students they teach in their own classrooms.

    In conclusion, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Joe Ricketts, the founder of OEF, the entire Ricketts family (many of whom such as Jim here today are directly involved in OEF), to all of the team at OEF and to Louisiana College for their time and investment in our teachers and improving their knowledge and skills. Thank you all very much indeed.

    I also wish all seminar participants a very useful and satisfying time here today and every success in all their future endeavours.

    Nananom, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests. It is a welcome privilege to be your guest of honour here today and to have had the opportunity to make this address.

    Thank you.

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