The Minister of Inner-City and Zongo and Development has said that the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to set up 16 model Senior High Schools (SHS) in Zongo communities across all regions of the country is borne out of the need to ‘‘leave no one behind’’ in terms of access to quality education.
On page 155 of the 2020 NPP Manifesto, which was launched on Saturday, August 22, 2020, the party intends to execute the project through collaboration between the Zongo Development Fund and GET-Fund.
Speaking in Accra on Tuesday, the Minister said the successful completion of the model SHSs would also solve a problem that had bedevilled the country over the years as far as religious rights of children in schools were concerned.
Some Muslim children from the Zongo communities who tried to access quality education, he said, over the years been coerced into engaging in practices against the tenets of their religion; while others were made to abandon their mandatory acts of worship.
Such acts, he also indicated, often led to religious tensions, which, in effect, threatened the peaceful coexistence enjoyed in the country.
He further highlighted the need to bridge the secular educational gap created by early Zongo settlers who feared for the ‘‘Christianization’’ of their children who attempted to seek formal owned by Christian missionaries.
‘‘And indeed, in many parts of the country, that fear was realized because children at that time who were sent to school were required to take on Christian names and some eventually converted to Christianity,’’ he said.
He noted that it was until the 1970s where an aggressive attempt to promote secular education in the Zongo communities by the government was made with the setting up of the Islamic Unit which became functional in 1987.
The situation, he said, therefore mirrored the reality of how the education of people in the Zongo communities had been lagging for almost eight decades of which the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development had been mandated to raise that standard.
‘‘Our policy, for example of having 40 Zongo youth in Cuba now training to be doctors who will serve in clinics and hospitals in the Zongo communities in a part of that agenda,’’ he said.
Plans, he added, were far advanced for the selection of two or more high schools under the Islamic Education Unit in every region as model schools that promoted educational excellence.
Source: Daily Guide