On June 16 the Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) joined thousands of other organizations and people around Africa to celebrate the the Day of the African Child in commemoration of children who were killed in South Africa in 1976 in demand for their right to be taught in their own language and protesting the poor quality of their education. The day is also used to raise awareness on the ongoing need for improvement of the education provided to children across Africa.
Each year, a theme is created and this year, the theme was “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights”.
To observe the day this year, KEEP in partnership with the June L. Moore public school celebrated the day starting with a screening of the movie, “Sarafina” on June 15 as an effort to provide a visual depiction of what led to the uprising and the African Union’s decision to commemorate the day.
On June 16, the students of the school participated in a parade close by the school campus and then highlighted the day with a debate on the global theme.
This was the school’s first debate in more than 15 years and it proved to be quite exciting and educational.
In attendance at the program were the District Education Officer (DEO) Mr. Patrick Dortu, the Assistant town Chief for the Gbengbar town where the school is located, the PTA Board Chair, Rev Timothy Smith .
Speaking at the program, the Principal of the school, Madam Sarah Yardanmah welcome all the visitors to the school and said the day was a happy one for her and the faculty of the school. She said this was the school’s first major activity since she took over in March this year and appreciated the support from the community, the faculty and the Ministry of Education. She noted that it is through such activities that learning becomes holistic for the students and commended KEEP for the support.
In remarks, one of KEEP’s volunteers, Mr. Ransford R. Moore, Sr. acknowledge the efforts of the students and encourage more girls to participate on the debate teams during future debates. He indicated that debate is an opportunity to see how students are able to analyze issues and discuss in civil manner while at the same time helping their public speaking skills and grammar. Mr. Moore appreciated the school for being receptive to such programs that go beyond the classroom learning experience.
In separate remarks, the PTA Chair, Rev. Timothy Smith and the Assistant town chief also commended the students and thanked KEEP for the support and welcome more of such activities in the school. Rev Smith said “it is such activities that prepare you to speak in front of big people and teach you how to engage on issues of importance.
For his part, the District Education Officer, Mr. Patrick Dortu commended the effort of the students for preparing so quickly and also encouraged more girls to participate in the debate and other school activities, not to allow only the boys to dominate. He also commended KEEP for supporting such educational activities and pledge his support in similar future activities.
Since 1991 by adopting this day as the Day of the African Child, the African Union has drawn attention to the plight, not only of children in South Africa, but also to the plight of children across Africa in an effort to ramp up calls for more attention to be given to issues pertaining to the well-being of children.