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African Cup of Nations: Youth reporter Sandra Nyarko interviews her fellow students in Ghana
TAKORADI, Ghana, 23 January 2008 - As part of UNICEF’s campaign on Quality Education for all Children I went to my school, Chapel Hill, in Takoradi, as a youth journalist and led a discussion on the importance of education. First we organized for the kids to have some fun before we dealt with the big issues. Since the Africa Cup of Nations is being held in Sekondi-Takoradi, we played football to use the power of sport to promote education. As Stephen Appiah, a star Ghanaian footballer said, “Football is my passion, but it’s education that made me who I am today”.
With the children in their sports kits in team colors of yellow, red, blue-black, blue, mauve and green we started the football match. The children were very skillful and played with teamwork – and had lots of fun.
After the game we had a chat on the importance of education with some of the kids. It was wonderful. When I asked them how they benefit from education I was told by Veronica, who is 11 years old, that “you become a better person in future and you get a better job”. Twelve-year-old Harry told me, “you will be able to achieve your aim in the future of becoming whatever you want to be”.
I asked my classmate this question: how would you feel if you were not able to attend school anymore? Emmanuel, 11, said, “I would be very angry with my parents, because while my classmates are learning many lessons – I’d be at home working”. Fiona, who is 7 years old, said, “I would be sad and very lonely for I would not learn nor see my friends again”.
I then asked them to give me some of the reasons why some children are not in school. Jennifer, who is 12, said, “some are not in school for the fact that their parents do not have a job so they can’t get money.” Harry added, “Others forget the purpose of education”. Veronica concluded by saying “some children find it hard to come to school because they have no one caring for them”.
I asked so many questions about how some children struggle to go to school, but I got almost the same answer. It’s all about not having the small amount of money many children need to go to school.
Mackenzie Donyinah, 13 years old, said, “Education is the key to success. Success for me is to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. Children must go to school because the government has provided free education, so the parents should try to take advantage of that.”
Education is important because it gives you the skills, like reading and writing, to help you throughout your life. When you don’t have an education, you find it very difficult to do even simple things. Education makes you who you are in the future.