The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has launched its maiden Inter-University Quiz and Debate championship, on the theme: “Restoring Our Ghanaian Values as Active Citizens”.

The 2017 Championship, which was launched on Wednesday, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Accra, formed part of the NCCE’s activities towards Ghana’s 60th Independence celebrations.

It sought to among others, to promote good citizenship among In-School Youth, using the Electronic Constitution Quiz Competition, increase knowledge among the citizenry so they would understand and appreciate their rights and obligations, uplift the quality of public discourse, deepen the country’s democracy and raise the profile of the Commission.

Ms Josephine Nkrumah, the Chairman of the NCCE, said 16 participating Universities drawn from the ten regions of Ghana, would be competing from the regional to zonal levels made up of the Northern, Middle, Central and the Southern, culminating in a final national debate.

The Commission, she said over the next five months, sought to create the mastery of the Constitution as a living document, to empower the youth as young active citizens.

She said the NCCE believed that after 60 and 25 years of attaining independence and adopting of the Fourth Republican Constitution respectively, which, embodied the hopes and aspirations of the people, the role of the youth in shaping the destiny of the country should be greatly emphasised, so as to preserve the positive values that fostered nation building.

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She explained that understanding the 1992 Constitution of Ghana as the fundamental law of the land, and civics, could therefore become the launch pad for the youth to be good and active citizens, and this was the reason why learning its content had been made the basic requirement and material for participation by students in the contest.

Ms Nkrumah said through this play and learn format, participants were expected to be empowered to become ambassadors of the Rule of Law, saying “in the Commission’s view, this is necessary if we as Ghanaians are seriously pursuing a national transformation agenda”.

She said the NCCE had over the years initiated various programmes, citing the Ghana Constitution Game to create public awareness and a culture of civic rights and responsibility, and also inculcated in the youth the spirit of patriotism and responsible citizenship to equip them as effective leaders.

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She mentioned other initiatives such as the introduction of a televised quiz which was based on the knowledge of the Constitution in second cycle schools, and in 2001 launched the Annual Constitution Week celebrations, and also other pilot TV series which unfortunately could not be sustained due to funding challenges.

She said while the NCCE continued to execute its mandate, “we must begin to teach our positive Ghanaian values as part of our national orientation. If we can agree that these values underpin our national development, then we must also agree to systematically make them a part of the learning experience that support youth development as socially responsible citizens who can significantly contribute to our national transformation”.

She acknowledged the media as crucial partners in making the Inter-University Quiz and Debate championship as success and challenged the youth to rise up as responsible citizens to demand for accountability from the leaders of the country for the sake of posterity.

Professor Kwame Offei, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, said several concerns were being raised about the present fall in national values, which included the lack of respect for the Rule of Law, basic courtesies, integrity, social justice, language and other important civic and patriotic obligations by the citizenry.

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He commended the NCCE for the initiative and expressed the hope that the discussions from the various sessions would positively facilitate the restoration of these important national values.

Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, the Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, who chaired the launch, admitted the fact that effective knowledge of the provisions of the Constitution was important to enable the citizenry to be actively engage in the current democratic regime, and also be able to know their political history so as to appreciate their rights and responsibilities to be able to safeguard them.

She expressed the hope that the country would witness an active programme over the next five months, to provide further enlightenment and create awareness among the citizenry.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh