Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, the Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), has underscored contributions of the Annual New Year School and Conference to Ghana’s socio-economic development.
He, therefore, appealed to corporate Ghana, international development partners, and philanthropists to support the School of Continuing and Distance Education of the College of Education of the University of Ghana, in the organisation of the 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference and future ones.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday in Accra, Dr Antwi-Danso said the Annual New Year School and Conference, since its inception in 1948, had played crucial roles in national policy formulations through its resolutions and recommendations, which were usually carried in communiqués.
He mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as an outcome of recommendations of the School.
“Basically the Annual New Year School is very important in our socio-economic development; because it is an assembly of all shapes of people from intellectuals to ordinary people in the streets, who attend and give their opinions about the direction of the State vis a vis the international status of the world,” he noted.
The 72nd Annual New Year School on the theme “Building Ghana in the Face of Global Health Crises” is slated for January 19-20.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual weeklong programme has been shortened to two days.
Dr Antwi-Danso said aside Government’s assistance towards the organisation of the New Year School; the organizers must begin to cast their nets wide to look for other sources of funding.
“The New Year School is something that we need to support, help and sustain. It is something, which is good for not only the intellectual community but for the governance system that we have put on ourselves and so we must sustain it,” he said.
Dr Antwi-Danso, who said the organisers must not let the outcome of the New Year School gather dust on the shelves; urged them to also lobby to get the Government adopt its recommendations in policy formulation.
“They must also find a way of disseminating the outcome, they must find a way of popularising the outcome, they must find a way of lobbying the government to accept the outcomes,” he said.
“I am very happy to say that the enthusiasm in the New Year School has not waned.”
Regarding the theme for this year, Dr Antwi-Danso said the question of global health was very topical in the sense that coronavirus pandemic had ravaged the world.
He said the Spanish flu took away well over 15 million people more than any other war had taken, saying, pandemics were very important today; and that “the rapidity with which they are coming up, calls for a look or relook at global health”.
The Dean said the communiqués issued at the end of the New Year School must always find accommodation with government policies; adding that “the NHIS for example come in handy because at that time it coincided with Government’s thinking on health financing, the debate was out there already, and so when the New Year School communique came out with its communique, it wasn’t very difficult to absorb it”.
“I strongly suspect that this year’s New Year School will find accommodation in government. Because the pandemic is a devastating kind of pandemic that has taken a toll on global politics, global economics and things like that. So, I think this will be in tandem with government policy and it will not lie on the shelves.”