The 20th edition of the National Milo Schools Sports Festival began at the Koforidua Sports Stadium on Monday.
Participants at the Festival would engage soccer, volleyball and baseball competitions among regional teams consisting of Under 13 and 15 pupils and Senior High Schools from all over the country.
Dr Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, the Eastern Regional Minister, in an opening address, said sports has become an important part of the Ghanaian culture and pervades society and can safely be described as a microcosm of the society.
He noted that the Educational Reform programmes, which governments had pursued and continued to pursue, sought to bring to the fore some cardinal issues which sought to provide the individual with a broad spectrum of opportunities from which he could choose and specialize for future development in relation to the environment and the needs of society.
Dr Apea-Kubi said that sports with its universal appeal helps to nurture raw talent, provide guidance and imparts values that when appropriately applied could be of immense help for future success in life.
The Regional Minister urged all not to pay lip service with physical education and sports programmes because it provides both participants and spectators the enabling environment for the development of tolerance, patriotism, co-operation, obedience, friendliness and respect.
He noted that when a school refuse or fail to participate or is under represented in sporting activities, the management of such a school was depriving the nation of potential talents as well as preventing students from displaying their talents which when developed would give them personal and national fame.
Dr Apea-Kubi said it was about time authorities reviewed the involvement of students in sports and renewed emphasis on the learning experience that sports intended to foster, like character development.
Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Minister of Education, in a speech read on her behalf commended Nestle Ghana Limited on their efforts and support to sports development and for the implementing of the Festival.
She urged the participating students and sports boys and girls to take the challenge to train harder to achieve fame like some popular Ghanaian sportsmen and women are making all over the world.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu urged the officials to provide the best of officiating in fairness to all and deal with suggestions and comments objectively.