UG launches 70th annual New Year Sch, confab

Hajia Alima Mahama (second from right) interacting with some of  the participants at the launch

Hajia Alima Mahama (second from right) interacting with some of the participants at the launch

The 70th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) will next year, focus on how institutions in the country would be strengthened to secure the country’s democratic gains.

Organised by School of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana, the weeklong gathering of academics, policy makers, civil servants and industry players is scheduled for January 14 to 19, 2019 on the theme “Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana.”

At the launch in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama said the country although had progressed in democracy in terms of electoral process, gender equity, legislature, human rights, press freedom and social protection, there was room for improvement.

She said weak institutions had resulted in inefficiencies in public sector delivery, corruption, weak law-enforcement which required the building of stronger and more diverse institutions to correct.

“There is the need also for highly articulated institutions, with robust training and accountable systems to make our economy comparable to that of global counterparts and standards,” she said.

Hajia Mahama said one way the government was building strong institutions was the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCES) scheduled for 2021.

She said the draft bill for the amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution which barred the election, had been completed and awaiting the required six months to elapse after the gazetting process before  the referendum to change the law would be held.

“ It is my expectation that the New Year School will spend  some time on this to seek a ‘yes’ vote  for this significant  decentralisation milestone  to consolidate our democratic governance,” she stated.

Hajia Mahama commended the University for creating the platform for public discourse on topical issues of national and international interest since its inception in 1948.

Prof. Olivia Kwapong, Acting Dean, School of Continuing and Distance Education, touted the influence the New Year school had had on major policy decisions such as the Planting for food and jobs and pledged to continue propelling the development of the country.

Dr Evans Aggrey-Darkoh, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, underscored the need to consolidate the country’s democratic gains by putting more emphasis on quality of democratic outcomes instead of putting more emphasis on elections.

“We ought to be interested in whether democracy is promoting justice, efficiency, liberty, equity, or ultimately the common good or the general will,” he said.

Dean of the College of Education and Leadership of UG, Prof. Jonathan Fletcher called on institutions to collaborate to find solutions to common problems.

By Jonathan Donkor

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