The Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, has represented Ghana to deliver the final draft statement at the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on population and development.
The final draft highlights government’s commitment in promoting a sustainable population which supports education and investment as the driver for sustainable growth.
The session which took place from the 10th to 14 of April 2023 in New York was on the theme; population, education and sustainable development.
She indicated that Ghana has made a significant investment in improving human capital by expanding access to universal health care and basic education because in 2021, Ghana conducted its first digital Population and Housing Census, which indicated decline in fertility and a shift in the population structure from one dominated by children to one dominated by youth.
According to her, investing in education ensures that young people are prepared for the workforce and poised to contribute to economic growth. To promote such investment, the Government of Ghana has introduced the Comprehensive Free Senior High School initiative and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Also, the introduction of the school feeding programme to increase access to all including vulnerable populations such as those from low-income households, persons with disabilities and girls who otherwise would have been left behind.
She said government has also initiated key education reforms to transform teaching and learning and improve educational outcomes under the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2018 – 2030) but barriers and challenges persist that impede progress towards inclusive, equitable and quality education.
Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah said these included inadequate or poor infrastructure, high teacher-student ratios, inadequate teaching and learning materials, poverty, early marriage and childbearing hence government in collaboration with communities, partners and stakeholders needed to do more in addressing the root cause of some of these challenges.
She pointed out that early marriage and childbearing was of great concern as it has devastating consequences for two generations in many sectors including education because often the mother and the baby are at greater risk of poor health and educational outcomes.
This, she said creates a self-sustaining cycle of poverty, crime, and a growing proportion of young people without the requisite skills, resources and opportunities to be productive citizens thus, derailing the march towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to her the government was implementing the “Back to School Campaign”, which ensures adolescent mothers are re-enrolled to complete their education and improve enrollment that generates the skills desperately needed for sustainable development.
She said by prioritizing the elimination of child marriage and child bearing, Ghana would be able to feed, educate, protect more children as well as ultimately, harness their potential to fit the needs of this century to ensure their individual prosperity and common good.
Edem Agblevor, ISD