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Some of the award winners
Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GGL) Tarkwa mine in the Western Region has to date spent over US$ 5 million on education and training in the gold mining company’s catchment communities.
The amount had gone into the building of classroom blocks, information, communication and technology (ICT) centres and libraries.
The rest are construction of accommodation facilities for teachers and the education directorate, provision of scholarships and bursaries, among others.
David Ebo Johnson, Vice President and Head of Corporate and Stakeholder Relations of Gold Fields West Africa, revealed this at the 3rd Best Teacher Award ceremony organized by the company.
The teachers, who were mainly from Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality of the region, were awarded for their hard work and contributions towards the improvement of education in the company’s operational area.
The event, which was under the Gold Fields Foundation, saw about 26 teachers being presented with various kinds of awards.
The category of awards included best school, best science teacher, best mathematics teacher, best teacher-technical and outstanding teacher-nursery, kindergarten, primary and junior high school, among others.
Among other prizes the teachers were given were refrigerators, flat-screen television sets, lap-top computers and citations, while some schools were also given desk-top computers.
Mr. Ebo Johnson noted that the company’s programme, which was instituted about two years ago, had helped to enhance access to quality education for children in its host communities.
According to him, this year’s awards were quite special as it coincided with the 25 years of Gold Fields’ operations in Ghana, adding “it’s been 25 years of contributing our quota to the development of our host communities and the country as a whole”.
He pointed out that his outfit would continue to do everything possible to support the Education Directorate in the Tarkwa area to help develop quality education and boost the prestige of the teaching profession.
“I want to believe that the teachers did not work just for the awards but that you will progress and contribute meaningfully to the wellbeing of the pupils and the communities at large”, he added.
He continued: “Remember that the schoolchildren look up to you and so let your light shine for all to see that you do not only impart academic knowledge but you provide professional and ethical guidance as well”.
He mentioned that the gold mining company had introduced traditional apprenticeship programmes for young men and women in the company’s operational areas to help them hone their skills in dressmaking, hairdressing, welding, spraying and auto-electrical training.
“This year, 55 young men and women have been enrolled with various trade associations for a four-year apprenticeship programme. We have also introduced a mine-related apprenticeship programme aimed at equipping the youth with skills to operate heavy machinery”.
“Starting with 30 in 2016 and 40 in 2017, this year we have enrolled 50 and are keen on developing a pipeline of skilled and technically competent personnel that the industries can fall on “, he revealed.
The Western Regional Director of Education, Mr Addo Dankwa Akuffo, praised Gold Fields for the initiative which would motivate teachers to teach effectively and efficiently.
He mentioned that the recent narratives of teachers abusing their pupils and students sexually were disgraceful adding “this has no place in the noble vocation of teaching”.