President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was on Saturday honoured by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) with an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership at a colourful special congregation held in his honour at the University.
The ceremony attended by high profile personalities, including, Members of Convocation, Traditional Rulers, Members of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of States and other dignitaries, was given a traditional touch with the blowing of the ‘mmenson’ flutes to usher the dignitaries into the New Examination Centre.
The President is the 40th personality and the second sitting President to receive such an honorary award from the UCC after former President John Agyekum Kuffour.
He was decorated jointly by Dr (Sir) Sam Jonah, Chancellor and Prof Johnson Nyarkoh Boampong, Vice-Chancellor of UCC with an academic gown and a cap, attracting endless applause from the audience.
The President was also given a Doctor of Letters and a citation while the VC presented him a special gift of his framed photograph.
A citation accompanying the award read by Mrs Priscilla Baaba Bansah, Head of Documentary and Information Session, said the President was honoured for his zeal to make education accessible to all Ghanaians with the introduction of the free secondary school programme.
It said his sterling leadership had also transformed the education sector, which had seen rigorous reforms in Teacher Education, Pre-Tertiary Curriculum, Technical/Vocational training, and others.
It further lauded the President for encouraging reforms in operationalizing the Pre-Tertiary Teaching Professional and Management Development Framework as well as the introduction of a new School Supervision and Inspection system.
The honour is part of the efforts of the University to appreciate the President for successfully improving the education sector and rolling out the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) programme in the country.
“In honouring you today, the University appreciates your efforts to promote equal access to quality education for all Ghanaians and your service to humanity,” the citation said.
The University confirmed the President as a firm believer of the notion that Africa must systematically invest in the youth for development.
“With the Free SHS policy, you have positioned Ghana to grow an educated youth population for the future and the good of the country.”
The citation explained that the President championed his vision of making Free SHS a reality though he conceived it as a campaign message but fulfilled his promise to Ghanaians and provided the impetus, resources to initiate and implement the policy within the first year in his office as President.
Again, the citation described the President of the Republic of Ghana as an exemplary leader, legal luminary, Human Rights Advocate, visionary politician, seasoned diplomat, distinguished statesman, and a leader for educational development.
The Nana Akufo-Addo led government in September 2017 introduced the Free SHS policy to enable candidates who became successful at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to access secondary education.
Professor Nyarko Boampong explained that the President had contributed significantly to improving the wellbeing of the population, especially those in the educational sector.
He said the President’s vision to improve the educational sector was challenged by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic but he stood up to, exceptionally transform the sector regardless.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude to the University for the honour and pledged to uphold the standards associated with the award.