Kwame Nkrumah, the Convention People’s Party and Youth Mobilization in Ghana: The Ghana Young Pioneers (1960 – 1966) and Ghana’s Youth Today
EDMUND ABAKA - University of Miami
Speaking at a press conference in Accra in March 2010 to launch Ghana’s 53rd independence celebration, the Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, noted that the theme of the celebration, “’Investing in the youth for a better Ghana’ highlights the role of the youth in Ghana’s history in addition to the roles they continue to play in development”. He added that, “a knowledgeable youth is our best bet for becoming a better and an outstanding nation”. These and other pronouncements by political leaders leave no doubt that the youth of Ghana, and the youth of any country for that matter, are recognized as constituting an important source of human capital for socio-cultural, economic and political development. This is more so in African countries, and of course, in Ghana, where close to 30 percent of the population, according to the 2000 population census, fall in the category of youth. This category is defined generally as persons between the ages of 15 and 30, though the age range can be broadened to 10-35.
In spite of the general recognition of the importance of this segment of the population for development, the youth in Africa are plagued by poverty, under-employment, unemployment and marginalization. It is also worthy of note that researchers have highlighted a “de-agrarianisation” of rural Africa in the 21st century that has forced young people to cope with the social disruption of leaving rural communities as they enter adulthood, with little social support or capital to facilitate this transition. From an often impoverished rural setting, young people flee to urban centres where the autonomy, individualism and difficulties of making a living often push some of them to drugs and crime, “sakawa,”i and in some cases, violent political movements. The latter is best exemplified by the emergence of the phenomenon of “child soldiers” in Western and Eastern Africa.
It is against this background that this paper discusses Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party youth mobilization programme through the prism of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement. The paper discusses the rationale for the formation of the Young Pioneer Movement, the activities of the Young Pioneers and the relevance of the movement for a national youth policy for Ghana. The analysis ends with a comparison of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement of the Convention People’s Party and the youth employment policy of John Agyekum Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party. Former president Kufuor is on record as saying that, “… the youth of any country deserve their basic human right, the opportunity to contribute to the development of their country. The objective of providing employment for the youth to enable them to support the national effort, as well as plan for their own future security, has always been an important element of my government’s agenda”. The National Youth Employment Programme was, therefore, designed to provide more opportunities for the youth. However, while this laudable programme covers an important dimension of the problems facing the youth of the country, it is only one dimension. In contrast, the Ghana Young Pioneer movement sought to inculcate in the youth of the nation a sense of patriotism, duty and responsibility through civic education and other activities. This, unfortunately, is sorely lacking in any of the youth policies of the post-Nkrumah years.
It is important to note from the outset that Ghanaian youth have been very active in the political economy of the country since pre-colonial times. In various communities in the then Gold Coast, the youth functioned as a pressure group against misuse of power by traditional authorities.i During the colonial period, they were also among the most active segment of the population and were involved in both local and national agitation for independence.i Kwame Nkrumah himself had an excellent track record of activism in his youthful days. He was a member of the Debating Society during his school days at Achimota, and at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in the United States. Nkrumah was instrumental in the formation of the African Students’ Association and knew what it meant to be a student, and poor, in the US.i While working with W.E.B. DuBois, George Padmore and others in London (for the Fifth Pan-African Conference held in Manchester in 1945), Nkrumah worked with the West African Students’ Union and the West African National Secretariat in mobilizing the youth against colonialism.i
As a result, when he was invited to become the General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention in 1947,i Nkrumah had had tremendous experience working with the youth and knew the depth of their contribution towards national development. This was the context in which he made the youth an important element in the struggle for independence. As Prime Minister (1957) and later President of Ghana (1960), Nkrumah charted a youth policy that sought to make the youth the centrepiece of both the ‘African Personality’ and national development.
This paper proposes the inclusion of civic education and Pan-Africanism in the school curriculum from kindergarten to university. It also proposes the creation of a Youth Corps to provide specialized skills to other countries in Africa as well as in Europe and North America through government-to-government agreements that would enable qualified and specialized youth to work in other countries for up to three or four years. A youth-centred policy devoted to the needs of the youth both in and out of school would also be a fitting legacy of the work of Kwame Nkrumah.
A cabinet meeting of 4 August 1959 approved in principle the establishment of a national youth movement to be called the Young Pioneers, and in 1960, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) government “decided to set up the ‘Young Pioneers’ as an organization which will embrace all the youth of the country. The Young Pioneers movement will instill into the youth a high sense of patriotism, respect, and love for Ghana as the fatherland (sic)”.i The Young Pioneer movement sought to “foster physical fitness, respect for manual work, self-discipline, sense of duty and responsibility, and, above all, a love for and a strong desire to serve the fatherland”.i It was thus purposely designed “as an extensive school of citizenship, pioneering, and social activity to instill into the youth of Ghana, a high sense of patriotism, respect and love for Ghana as their fatherland while providing them with the opportunities for healthy association; further education, discipline and training; a patriotic service to Ghana, during their leisure and recreational periods”.i
The primary objective of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement was to inculcate pride for Ghana in its members and, therefore, it was decided that it was better that membership should not be restricted to a select few. Instead, all children should be given the opportunity to become members. As a result, it was proposed that at a future date the movement should be considered compulsory, especially when a compulsory elementary education was being considered for all children of school-going age in Ghana. A cabinet meeting in 1963 made the Ghana Young Pioneer movement compulsory for all children in primary, middle and secondary schools and directed principals and headmasters of these schools to establish Young Pioneer groups in their schools.i This to illustrate the point that right from the inception of the movement, its form, nature and activities were conceived in broad terms in order to encompass youth of all ages.
After studying different patterns and structure of youth groups in various European and Asian countries, the government chose 300 schoolchildren between the ages of 8 and 16 to constitute the nucleus of the Young Pioneers in Accra. The children were to be offered instruction in elementary rudiments of seamanship, airmanship, soldiering, telecommunications, first aid and physical education. The course of instruction was patterned on the curriculum of similar cadet organizations in England and other European countries. Accordingly, the ministries of Defence, Education, Transport and Communications were directed to select personnel with experience in these subjects to train the children.i
The government examined different patterns and structures of national youth coordinating authority in various European and Asian countries – from free, voluntary and charitable youth movements with some coordination and no state control, to state-controlled youth organizations, together with mobilization and regimentation (uniform and all). It decided on a pattern that utilized the advantages of the various forms. Thus, the Ghana Young Pioneer Authority (GYPA) was “designed to provide a firm basis for effective government control and direction, while permitting a reasonable measure of free choice, development of initiative and a variety of programme formation”.i In the end, however, the Cabinet decided to establish a Ghana Youth Authority (instead of a Ghana Young Pioneer Authority) under the Ministry of Education and responsible for all youth organisations such as the Young Pioneers, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides etc. On the other hand, charitable and voluntary movements such as the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) were to fall under the control of the Ministry of Social Welfare.i
Stages in the establishment of the Ghana Young Pioneers
Kwame Nkrumah was keen to develop the model youth movement and a two-pronged approach was adopted to get the Ghana Young Pioneer movement off the ground. A leadership training centre in Accra was established at Teshie, specifically at the old site of the “B.N.C.O’s [British Non-Commissioned Officers] Mess area of the R.W.A.F.F [Royal West African Frontier Force] Training School,” and regional organisers and regional instructors for the Young Pioneers were quickly recruited. This first phase of the building of the Ghana Young Pioneers also involved the appointment of full-time national and deputy national organisers, the establishment of headquarters in Accra, the purchase of equipment, publicity and the enrollment of a nucleus of Young Pioneers in Accra.
For this phase of the programme, £G3,620 was made available. It was proposed to build up the Young Pioneers to a strength of 3,000 during 1960-1961 in nine regional centres and 30 districts) at an estimated cost of £G49,000 in both capital and recurrent expenditure. Permanent staff members were to be paid salaries and allowances, but instructors and leaders were initially expected to be volunteers. This volunteer corps was initially to be recruited from teachers and youth leaders in existing organizations and trained as instructors at the leadership training centre in Accra.i Thus, teachers were identified from the outset as an important resource pool to use in training the youth. They were “asked to give the new movement their full support and inspiration. They should also be encouraged to volunteer for Young Pioneer courses when these are established”.i
The 300 children to be selected in Accra to form the Young Pioneers were to be issued with a working uniform and a ceremonial uniform. The children were to be divided into three groups and given basic instruction in citizenship, manual skills, nature study and health science. There would be progressive tests and examinations to be rewarded with badges and certificates of merit. Older groups would be utilized to assist in self-help projects and work closely with village development committees. They would also be given pre-military training to “inculcate patriotism and loyalty for the country.i
The Young Pioneer Movement was set up in three stages. In phase 1, from 1959-1960, full-time national and deputy national organizers were appointed, a headquarters was established in Accra and a nucleus of 300 children was enrolled. Cabinet approved Mr. Z.B. Shardow as National Organiser of the Ghana Young Pioneers at an annual salary of £G1,800, and Mr. B.A. Quarcoo as Deputy National Organiser at a salary of £G1,600 per annum.i Both men had extensive experience with youth movements locally and internationally.
In phase two of the development of the GYPM, from 1960-61, a leadership training centre was set up in Accra, and regional organizers and regional instructors were appointed. The first training course in leadership was started, a national enrolment target of 3,000 was mapped out, and the GYPM was created as a statutory body. In phase three (1961-62), the focus was on completing regional headquarters and appointing district organizers; establishing the movement at district level and running training courses for Regional and District Organisers until a national enrolment of 100,000 had been achieved.i
The trainers of the Young Pioneers were initially volunteer leaders, especially “teachers and youth leaders in existing organizations”. The Ghana Youth Authority would train them as instructors in a leadership training centre to be established in Accra. The Minister of Education stressed that it was imperative to have a “trained caliber with ideological background to put this organization into effective machinery and candidates were selected from all regions for initial training in Accra as regional organizers”.i
Since the Young Pioneer Movement was focused on children of schoolgoing age, Young Pioneer activities were to be restricted to “late afternoons, weekends and school holiday periods”.i In practical terms, two evening periods and one weekend period were set aside for training each week. Over time, it was hoped that some aspect of Young Pioneer training would be obtained by children through the general school curricula. This point is worthy of mention because one Mr. Amakye asserted in a newspaper article in 1961 that “certain school children often went home late in the evenings after school and when they were questioned they explained that they attended the Ghana Young Pioneer meetings”.i In a rejoinder to Mr. Amakye’s article, M. J.W. Dadson explained to parents in the Cape Coast municipality that “the Young Pioneers reach the Ghana Young Pioneers Centre at 4:15 p.m. after school and leave around 5:15 p.m. and by 5:30 p.m. they are expected to be in their homes,” but better still, “it is the intention of the Ghana Young Pioneers, Cape Coast branch, to establish three zones in the municipality so that children staying nearer the zones might train there”.i
After establishing itself in primary and middle school, the Ghana Young Pioneer movement actively recruited in the secondary schools, training colleges and business schools in the country. Mr. J. M .H. Acquah, the Central Regional Organiser, inaugurated a Ghana Young Pioneers branch at Apam Secondary School on 11 October 1961, and Mr. J.H. Yorke, the Assistant Regional Organiser, inaugurated the Wesley Girls’ High School branch. In 1962, a branch of the Ghana Young Pioneers was opened at Business Training College, Cape Coast, with five teachers as Voluntary Instructors. At Dunkwa Secondary School (now Boa Amponsem Secondary School), Mr. M. J. Arthur, the District Organiser, inaugurated a branch of the GYPM in February 1962.i
Activities of the GYPM
Regular seminars were organized by all regional and district branches of the Ghana Young Pioneers. Some of the topics discussed at these seminars included the following: “Institutionalization of Osagyefo, foot drill in theory and practice, Pioneer songs, Ghana Young Pioneer activities in schools, Leadership in schools, Ghana Young Pioneers in public life, and the need for a national movement”. Seminars were also regularly organized for Young Pioneer members, teachers, volunteer instructors and other leaders so that the Ghana Young Pioneer programme would be clearly understood by trainers and trainees alike. For example, the Central Region Branch of the Ghana Young Pioneers planned a weekend seminar for the voluntary leaders of the movement in the Central Region at Anomabu Fort on Friday 7 July 1961. It also planned a weekend camp course for 60 Pioneers from 12 districts of the Central Region from 4 to 6 August 1961, and decided to “send 60 more pioneers to the Western, Eastern and Ashanti Regions on excursions from 8 to 13 August 1961”.i As part of Founder’s Day, 21 September 1961, five Young Pioneers from the Ajumako District attended a one-day school on motor mechanics after the route march of the Ghana Young Pioneers.i On 20 July 1963, the Ghana Young Pioneers organized a weekend youth festival at Berekum. This festival gathered over 1,000 Pioneers and schoolchildren from Berekum, Sunyani, Bechem, Dormaa Ahenkro and Sampa districts to participate in a festival and compete in events such as foot-drill, physical display, choral music and cultural display.i
It is important to note that many of the Ghana Young Pioneer seminars, Founder’s Day celebrations, rallies and awards were attended by chiefs and paramount chiefs, and the latter often served as chairmen for the activities. Those often mentioned in the records include Nana Akyin VI, Omanhene of the Ekumfi State and then President of the Central House of Chiefs; Nana Boa Amponsem III of the Denkyira Traditional Area; Nana Ekumfi Ameyaw II, the Techimanhene, among several others. In this way, chiefs were gradually drawn into the ambit of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement’s activities and thus the weight of traditional authority was, indirectly, brought to bear on the activities of the youth. It is also important to point out that cultural drumming and dancing were integral dimensions of all Young Pioneer activities.
Often, monster rallies were organized in regions or districts to boost the Ghana Young Pioneer movement whenever it was felt that the movement’s strength had suffered due to “misinterpretation of the role of this movement in Ghana and Africa”.i
Due to its emphasis on physical fitness, the Ghana Young Pioneer movement organized hiking trips for its members. These trips also enabled members of the Young Pioneer movement to visit places of historical and national interest and thus become educated in the history of the nation. In 1963, a contingent of Ghana Young Pioneers was selected to go on a pilgrimage to Nkroful, the birthplace of Kwame Nkrumah. Ninety boys and 10 girls were selected to hike from Accra (from the Kwame Nkrumah Youth Training School at Teshie) through the Central Region to Nkroful in the Western Region (from 6 to 23 September 1963), stopping at several places to rest, visit places of interest such as the Kwame Nkrumah Institute of Economics and Political Science at Winneba, Fort William, Kwegyir Aggrey’s house, and Hammond Hall where the CPP was founded (all in Saltpond); Elmina Castle, the Komenda Teacher Training College and the Komenda Sugar Cane Project, among others.i Prior to the trip, the hikers had to present medical certificates of fitness.
The Ghana Young Pioneer movement was entrusted with the organization of Colts’ Sports Associations in various Local Authority areas – all with a view to promoting interest in sports among the youth.i Recreational activities constitute an important vehicle of youth mobilization and the Young Pioneer movement brought the youth in various towns and cities together through football matches and other sporting activities.
The Young Pioneer Movement was concerned about disseminating information about the activities of the movement. The Central Regional headquarters of the Ghana Young Pioneers produced a monthly newsletter to provide information about the Movement’s activities. It highlighted the monthly activities of the Movement such as seminars, rallies, interviews, mobilization efforts, Founder’s Day events, among others. It also published the profile of one African leader each month such as Patrice Lumumba. In this way, the movement educated members and the youth about African history.
The work of the Young Pioneer Movement was undergirded by a code of discipline which was based on the following principles:
1. Love of country
2. Discipline and obedience
3. Honesty and morality
5. Protection of state property
6. Reliability and secrecy
7. Comradeship and forbearance
8. Love of work
9. Field craft – the ability to master one’s profession and be in control of the productive and distributive mechanisms of a nation.
Criticism and Demonization of the Movement
The Ghana Young Pioneer movement came under withering attack after the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP in 1966. While some of the criticism stands on its own merit, others were partly driven by ideological differences. Some exuberant leaders of the Ghana Young Pioneers had also given the movement a bad name. One such individual was Mr. M. Y. Mensah, acting District Organiser of the movement at Berekum. Transferred from Sunyani to Berekum in 1964, Mr. Mensah made himself odious to teachers, head teachers, and party functionaries. It is reported for instance that Mr. Mensah asked to use the CPP van to visit his wife and when this request was denied, he hurled insults at Mr. S. L. Atta and the local council chairman, Mr. S. K. Nyame. In addition to this, Mr. Mensah quarreled with almost all the head teachers in Berekum, many of whom were active leaders of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement. The relationship got so bad that head teachers warned Mr. Mensah not to enter their school premises. Similarly, Mr. C. K. A. Quashie, Senior Education Officer, complained to the Principal of the Berekum Teacher Training College that Mr. Mensah was interfering in school affairs.i Mr. Quashie happened to be at Berekum Roman Catholic Middle Boys’ School when Mr. Mensah, in his capacity as acting District Organiser of the Ghana Young Pioneers, disrupted classes by rounding up six Young Pioneers who had not paid their contribution of one shilling for a trip to a football match at Dormaa Ahenkro. Mr. Quashie’s perceptive observations show some of the problems the Ghana Young Pioneer movement faced. He noted that the Young Pioneer officer (in this case Mr. Mensah) seemed to believe he had a right to order the teacher about. Mr. Quashie attributed the problem to “the over-enthusiasm of some of the District Organisers of the Ghana Young Pioneers to get the work done quickly (and thus would deprive a child of a day’s quota of education which the government had deemed so important to make compulsory and free)”.i Mr. Quashie further noted that “... the large measure of official patronage for the new organization has naturally gone into the heads of some of the organizers to the extent of making them rate themselves above the officers of other state services in the district”.i This was a terrible indictment of the leadership of an organization involved in mass mobilization and who should be working closely with colleagues in other state services.
The above criticism has been discussed extensively because it is important to note that the Ghana Young Pioneer movement, like all movements, had its shortcomings. However, the excessive demonization of the movement after the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966 goes beyond the shortcomings of the leaders of the organization. The vitriolic critique was rooted in ideological differences and the continuing conflict between the CPP and the United Party (UP) The enactment of the Preventive Detention Act and the implementation of that Act silenced critics and fuelled intense anti-Nkrumah activities. However, it should be noted that the context in which the PDA was introduced included over seven attempts on Nkrumah’s life and those attempts created a climate in which the line between legal and illegal arrests was easily breached.
Did the Young Pioneers spy on their parents?
One of the most damning critiques of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement was that members spied on their parents. There is no record of spying as part of any of the curricular activities of the Young Pioneer Movement – seminars, youth days, or lectures – in the records. M.N. Tetteh notes that “… special agents were recruited into the movement by international groups of conspirators to destroy the image of the movement from within”.i However, while I have not found records to indicate any such external interference, this does not mean that such interference was not undertaken.
An unsigned letter written by hand in June 1963 and sent to the Bechem District Commissioner opens an interesting window into this allegation of spying. The letter runs thus:
I have been watching this man whom I am staying with. David Amponsah Mensah of [the] Ministry of Agriculture, Mistblower Repair Depot has been all the time speaking against [the] Ghana government (1) He says we Ghana Young Pioneers are useless. This movement is formed by Osagyefo and know it is against him. (2) …(3) He says nowadays Osagyefo does not know what to celebrate and he want[s] to celebrate any day. He says Nkrumah shall soon celebrate his mother’s birthday. (4) He says although he has paid money to buy [a] C.P.P. card at Bechem […] he will never pay the dues to you and your people to chop as you all the time chop levy. (5) He says at Bechem the D.C. goes round to collect levy.
Please as a young pioneer it is my duty to report this man to you to deal with him or you let him to be transferred from here.
Because I am staying with him I did not like to report him but I have to do so …”i
The letter was received and stamped by the District Commissioner’s office indicating that they had received it. Was this act of reporting someone whose activities a Young Pioneer deemed to be unpatriotic indicative of Young Pioneers’ reporting their parents? It is evident from the letter that the young man agonized over reporting the activities of David Amponsah Mensah of the Ministry of Agriculture. But he considered it an act of patriotic duty to report someone who disparaged the leadership of the nation. Was this a logical outcome of training Young Pioneers to love the nation? I am inclined to believe so. Did other Young Pioneers report family members or superiors at work? While it is likely, the evidence thus far has not shown that reporting people considered unpatriotic was the order of the day.
Interviews I conducted in Accra between 2 June and 4 June 2010 lend credence to the fact that while it is possible that some Young Pioneer members might have reported family members or even parents (most likely in the opposition camp), their actions did not stem from instructions to do so from the movement or the CPP hierarchy. Instead, having gone through Young Pioneer and ideological training they could have considered it their patriotic duty to expose people whose activities and utterances they viewed as inimical to the development of the country.
Related to the point above is a similar scenario from the 1970s that helps to problematize the issue of spying by the Young Pioneers. After taking over the reins of government in 1972 from Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia’s Progress Party, the new Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council (NRC), Colonel Kutu Acheampong, appealed to the youth to help stamp out corruption and “smoke out those traders who are hoarding goods”. He admonished students of Ghana: “Do this in all earnestness even if they are your fathers”.i The author of the newspaper article from which the above quotation is culled added that “Colonel Acheampong’s appeal is reminiscent of one of the activities of the Young Pioneers. The Pioneers, we remember, dutifully reported the nefarious deeds of all reactionaries and saboteurs to the authorities”.i While the author states that the Pioneers dutifully reported the activities of reactionaries, he produces no evidence to back his assertion. Furthermore, while he cites a direct quotation from Col. Acheampong urging the youth to report their parents if they were engaged in hoarding essential commodities in the heady days of NRC rule, we are hard pressed to find any such direct instructions from the Young Pioneer hierarchy. But in the days after the Kulungugu bomb attempt to assassinate Nkrumah, and attempts at instigating violence and other bomb plots, it is likely that a heightened state of alertness created a climate of willingness to report “saboteurs and enemies of the state” to the authorities.
Conclusion: Impact of the Ghana Young Pioneer movement and its relevance today
Other African countries were attracted by the activities of the Young Pioneers in Nkrumah’s time and came to Ghana to study the movement and its role in mobilizing the youth for development. Thus, in December 1961, Comrade Kallay, National Organiser-designate for the Gambia, was attached to the Ghana Young Pioneers Training School at Teshie, Accra.
After seizing power in 1972, the National Redemption Council saw fit to discuss the possibility of reviving the Young Pioneer Movement, noting that it was an important organ for the mobilization of the youth for development. Commander J. A. Kyeremeh (GN), then Regional Commissioner for the Brong Ahafo Region, forcefully argued that the movement was important for national development but had been handicapped by the lack of trained leadership and by politicization. The key to reviving the Young Pioneer Movement, he argued, was a trained leadership and a conscious policy not to politicize the movement.
Successive governments since the overthrow of the CPP in 1966 fashioned youth policies that have all the hallmarks of Kwame Nkrumah’s Young Pioneer Movement. The latest example is the National Youth Employment Programme launched by the Kufour administration (2001-2008). That successive governments of Ghana since 1966 have seen fit to pursue youth policies that sometimes draw from the Young Pioneer model and the youth policy of the 1960s is a pointer to the fact that Nkrumah pursued a youth policy that was indeed designed for development.
However, the Young Pioneer movement was a victim of the demonization of Nkrumah’s ideas and policies that engulfed the country after his overthrow. Now that the significance of Nkrumah’s ideas and policies in Ghana and Africa as a whole have been fully recognized and resurrected, it is time to re-visit his youth policy with a view to solving the current problems of youth unemployment, vagrancy and rural-urban migration that have seen the youth move to the urban centres of Ghana, especially to the capital Accra and Kumasi, Koforidua, and Takoradi.
This paper asserts in conclusion that that there should be civic education as part of a total education for all Ghanaian students and youth. In Nkrumah’s time, civics for self-government was part of the school curriculum and inculcated in schoolchildren the rights and responsibilities of the citizen. These days, we have de-emphasized the teaching of history as a subject that would not enhance productivity in our global environment. How else are we going to know our history, including our origins and future place in the world? In place of history, there has been a tendency to emphasize social studies, while there is resistance to African Studies at the universities. In our view, there is a need to reintroduce civics for self-government and Pan-Africanism into our school curriculum from primary and secondary to tertiary institutions as an important vehicle for inculcating in our schoolchildren the spirit of patriotism, consciousness and loyalty to one’s country. Herein lies the significance of Nkrumah’s youth policy.
Another recommendation is the institution of a Vacation Job Scheme along the lines of an earlier scheme popularly known as ‘vacation employment’. This Vacation Job Scheme would be a mandatory programme in which students from secondary and tertiary institutions would be attached to various industries for practical training over the long-vacation period. When the students return to school, they should be required to write a report that outlines the significance of practical training for the theories they learnt in school. This would be a report on the merging of theory and practice and the bringing to life of what students learn in school. More importantly, the youth would acquire practical training before they complete their studies.
Related to the above is the fact that students can be selected to serve as interns in Parliament or in the offices of members of parliament or cabinet ministers and at the ministries. They would attend parliamentary sessions and hearings during the time they are on attachment. In this way, students would be exposed to how government works and what our members of cabinet and parliamentarians do.
The National Vocational Training Institute has an important role to play in a comprehensive youth policy that looks at the needs of the youth in school as well as school drop-outs. The latter need to be re-integrated into the school system by way of vocational training programmes that would provide them with opportunities to complete primary, junior and senior secondary school work. This can be achieved through weekend classes that should include, as a matter of priority, citizenship classes.
Finally, information technology or technology centres of excellence should be set up to tap into the creative genius of our youth and thereby create jobs for them along the lines of similar schemes that have been implemented in India. Technological jobs are available across oceans and continents, and countries with the capacity to provide such personnel are benefitting greatly. Several companies in India offer such services to companies in North America and Europe. Ghana can follow this example and thus create jobs for its youth in the field of technology.