A child born in Ghana in 2018 has only 40 percent chance of reaching his or her potential, Mr Mayeso Zenengeya, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Unit Head of UNICEF has said.
He also indicated that 94 percent of children aged between one and 14 years old have experienced some form of violent disciplinary action.
Mr Zenengeya, observed this at a day’s workshop on, “Increasing awareness and Knowledge on SDGs as well as Generating Input for the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR)” in Cape Coast.
The programme, organised by National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), targeted heads of institutions, CSOs, NGOs, political parties, development partners, youth organizations, persons with disabilities, media and security agencies and was geared towards deepening the understanding of the participants on the SDGs.
His conclusion was based on a World Bank Human Capital Index (HCI) that attributed the poor showing of the country’s Human Capital Index (HCI) test scores to poor quality of education, health care, inadequate investment in the sector among others.
The HCI, which measures the amount of capital that a child born in the country is expected to attain by age 18, stated that, the poor quality of education would translate into lack of capacity to support sustainable national development.
It indicated that harmonised test scores of students in Ghana was 307 on a scale where 625 represented advanced attainment and 300 represented minimum attainment.
He noted that 19 out of every 100 children were stunted and were at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that could last a lifetime.
Mr Zenengeya noted that only one in every five children aged between seven to 14 years have basic literacy skills – reading basic words and numbers and can correctly answer comprehension questions.
Regarding numeracy, only 5 in every 10 children aged seven to 14 years have basic numeracy skills – meaning that they could successfully complete mathematical questions at their level.
He noted that although Ghana had made some modest gains in keeping children in school, some children were still out of school and called for adequate measures to be taken to check the dropout rate of schoolchildren and Development across sectors.
Touching on the role of the youth in achieving the SDGs, he said it was the time for young people to engage at the local level to effect the change they desired by supporting the SDGs, adding that, young people were not limited to go all out and make their voices heard to compel duty bearers to act.
He emphasised that school children had every right to lead healthy lives above the poverty line, apply what they have been taught in school, and look forward to starting their own families in a clean and violence free environment.
Mr Eric Kwame Akomanyi, Project Assistant, Migration and Development reiterated the key role of the youth in implementing and monitoring the achievement of the goals and advocated for the promotion of inter-regional labour market, integration and mobility of labour to foster peace and security through youth employment in fulfilment of SDG four.
The youth must be equipped with the right skills and motivation to spearhead the processes of achieving the targets by 2030 through advocacy and awareness-raising, capacity development, engagements in decision making, policy development, data generation, follow-ups, reviews and shadow reporting.