“We cannot afford to be leaders of tomorrow, we cannot afford to mobilise for the future if our way of solving problems is vandalism.”
These were the words of Mr Joe Ghartey, Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan, as he expressed worry about the recent acts of vandalism among some tertiary students in the country’s institutions of higher learning.
Addressing a Youth in Leadership Conference at the University of Ghana, Mr Ghartey, a former student leader, said the youth must take interest in the development of the nation and actively participate in building the nation and desist from destroying public property when unhappy.
He said the current economic situation presented an opportunity for students to play a leading role in finding solutions to the challenges.
“How can you answer an economic problem with destruction? You must be concerned about the future and about playing a leading role in nation building,” Mr Ghartey told the students.
His remarks come on the back of recent riots by students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Ghana (UG).
On Friday August 5, 2022, students of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah Halls at the University of Ghana clashed, leading to the destruction of property in the vicinity of the Mensah Sarbah Hall.
Two weeks later, students of the University Hall (Katanga) and Unity Hall (Continental) of KNUST also clashed, causing injuries to 12 persons, and destruction of 12 vehicles on campus.
Mr Ghartey said it was necessary for tertiary students to get involved in various policies and build a relationship with Parliament to effectively participate in decision making.
He recalled events in the 1970s and 1980s where he said students played significant roles in the quest to return the country to democratic rule.
Mr Ghartey said through those efforts, leaders emerged and many of them continued to serve the country in various capacities.
“The issue in my time was a return to democracy. Today’s issue is the economy,” he noted.
Mr Ghartey also urged the students to leverage software development and information technology, saying the sector could contribute billions of dollars to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“In 2020, IT outsourcing made up 8 per cent of India’s GDP. If Ghana can expand its talent pool, it is possible to capitalise on similar opportunities and eventually get eight per cent of its GDP from IT. This would add $5.6 billion to the GDP,” he said.
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