The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on Friday, 4th of November 2022 organized the SHINE Mentorship Programme for some selected Public Basic Schools in its catchment area. The participating schools were Pig-farm JHS and Abavanna 4 & 5 JHS. The programme was held at the GAAS auditorium in Accra.
The speakers for the program were Madam Faizah Mohammed-Hafiz, Senior Officer, Education and Prevention, Narcotics Control Commission, Dr. Thomas Tagoe, President, Ghana Science Association, Dr. Edward Ampofo, Chief Pharmacist, Cocoa Clinic, Mr. David Prah, Deputy Director General, Technical and Operations, TVET Service, Thomas Nimo, Clinical Psychologist, 37 Military Hospital, Charles Ansre, Research Officer, Policy Analysis, GAAS and Mr Francis Ankrah, Deputy Executive Secretary, GAAS. The program was moderated by Mr Clifford Tetteh, Communications Officer, GAAS.
In her presentation, Madam Faizah Mohammed-Hafiz enlightened the students on the classifications of drugs. She listed some examples of legal and illegal drugs and substances and admonished the students to be careful when dealing with strangers who offer gifts in the form of food and drinks. She said food and drinks are the easiest way to introduce children and young adults to drugs since people mix them with illegal drugs. Dr Thomas Tagoe, President of, the Ghana Science Association, touched on the functions and various parts of the brain. He said, “every experience can cause a significant change in your brain”. He added that this was the right age to learn and develop the brain and said the use of drugs will only damage the brain.
Mr David Prah, Deputy Director General, Technical and Operations, TVET Service highlighted the major policies and challenges of the TVET sub-sector. He added that the government in its quest to promote TVET is upgrading and modernizing 35 technical institutions. He went further to say the TVET service has a 3-year program for all post-basic education graduates and said there are special programs designed for girls interested in attending TVET.
Dr Edward Ampofo spoke on the benefits of Polyphenol-Rich Cocoa for school-going teens. He took the students through the numerous health benefits of cocoa and why the crop should be respected and protected. He said the moderate consumption of cocoa in children helps to promote positive emotions and provides energy. This energy helps them stay active, learn better, and increase their creativity.
Thomas Nimo, Clinical Psychologist at 37 Military Hospital said it was okay to dream big. He spoke on the topic “Dare to dream”. He took the students through some basic steps to grow their dreams into reality. He stressed the need to keep good friends who motivate you to greatness and help when you need them. He mentioned that achieving your dreams is not a one-day process but takes commitment and constant practice and focus. He said, “Happiness is not found outside you or something you have or don’t have. It’s something you work on”.
The Research Officer of the Academy, Charles Ansre spoke on the theme “Be a Leader, not a Follower”. The presentation focused on teaching the children to be critical thinkers and to have the desire to take initiative, as these qualities will set them up for leadership roles. The pupils were taken through a series of critical thinking scenarios to identify trends as well as think out of the box. The pupils were further taken through illustrations, aimed at encouraging them to take initiative in the face of challenges.
Mr Francis Ankrah, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Academy speaking on the topic “Your teeth, Your Brand” stressed the need to look clean always. He advised students to pay attention to their teeth and dental hygiene, He went further to advise the students to limit the intake of sweets and sugary foods. He said this was important because sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. “don’t go to bed without cleaning your mouth, this helps to get rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day” he said.
Present at the program were some headmasters and teachers of the invited schools.