EIGHT students of the Accra High School who participated in a programme of civic consciousness of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) have won national and international acclaim.
Emmanuela Akoto, Comfort Ayaw Nunoo, Maame Efua Agyriba Debrah, Clara Aku Bonsu, Isaac Berko Agyarko, Ebenezer Shamo Abbey, Francis Obuoba Kwesi Ampadu and Alex Omari topped the national competitions in the programme and represented Ghana in an international showcase in the USA last year.
They were the only group among other groups from 32 countries to win an award for Superior Achievement with Special Recognition.
Their award came with a plaque and a citation for being young achievers.
Project Citizen is a portfolio-based interdisciplinary civic education curriculum for students and the youth and was introduced in Ghana in 2006 by the NCCE in partnership with the Centre for Civic Education of the United States of America and the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.
The programme helps in developing support for democratic values, principles, tolerance and feelings of democratic political processes and systems and sensitises the youth to identifying problems in their communities, gathering information on alternative solutions and formulating an action plan in solving the problem.
Twenty junior and senior high schools of the Northern and Greater Accra regions, with a total of 574 youth, participated in the pilot programme. The eight students emerged as the best group.
The eight students selected a topic on child labour.
The students told the Daily Graphic that the choice of the topic was to help express some challenges faced by their peers.
In their portfolio, they recommended more punitive sanctions against those caught indulging in child labour and identified that as one of the reasons for the persistent nature of the problem in the country.
“We need a lot more sensitisation on the issues as some labour can be called child labour but are shrouded in our cultural practices,” Ms Clara Aku Bonsu, the Spokesperson of the group, said.
Maame Efua Agyriba Debrah said securing the future of the country rested with the youth, hence the choice of the topic to bring to light some challenges faced by them.
Isaac Berko Agyarko, the leader of the group, said the group had the support of the NCCE but needed public support to enable them to sensitise their communities.
The eight also won the international showcase with their topic on child labour and their outstanding performance attracted the Voice of America (VOA) to interview them.
In Ghana, they have also appeared on the programme Gems of Our Time on Uniq FM, an Accra-based radio station.
The Co-ordinator of the project, Mrs Fanny Kumah, said the eight would be ambassadors to other schools that were being included in the programme after the pilot project.
She said it would be easier for their peers to learn from them, hence the group would be touring the selected schools in the Northern, Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and Upper East regions to share their experiences.
Mrs Kumah said the Centre for Civic Education of the USA and the Hanns Siedel Foundation had supported the programme; however, there was the need for more support to get the programme nation-wide, and entrenched.
She said teachers of selected schools in the Volta Region were going to be trained from January 29 to 31, 2008 to start the curricula in schools there.
Mrs Kumah expressed her gratitude to Ghana Commercial Bank and Kingdom Books, who sponsored the international showcase of the group.
Other sponsors of the NCCE have been AGG, Ghana Limited, EPP books, Japan Motors, Design House and Architectural Spring.