She also advised the students not to leave their homeland for greener pastures but rather stay and build the country. According to her, the theme, which was derived from the National Pledge, was chosen to serve as a reminder to the students to make personal declarations to commit to the future and growth of Ghana wherever they recited the Pledge.
The Chief Justice was particularly excited to see the physically challenged students and female head porters, and had a special message for them; “You have what it takes to go far as anyone can go and in spite of the challenges you face, you should take the advantage of developing your skills because the sky is the limit”, she said. Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo assured the physically challenged students that she would do her best within her means for persons with disability to fulfill their dreams of studying law.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Mrs. Barbara Ayisi Asher, who represented the Minister for Education, was excited to see young people eager to gain knowledge about the law. According to her, “the programme is particularly inspiring because it affords young people the opportunity to join the legal profession in service to the country.
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ms. Josephine Nkrumah, reiterated the advice of the Chief Justice on serving with integrity, whiles encouraging the students to learn the history of the country to inspire that service.
For his part, Mr. Robert Mensah, who represented the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ghana, commended the Judicial Service for the continual inclusion of female head porters (kayayei) and physically challenged students in the mentoring programme.
Their inclusion, he said, was one key reason why UNFPA Ghana has supported the programme over the years. Mr. Mensah believes it serves as a motivation to most of them to further their education and improve their lives. He suggested the programme be held in other regions as well, so as to deepen the inclusion of students particularly the physically challenged from all corners of the country.
Background to the CJ’s Mentoring Programme
The Chief Justice’s Mentoring Programme is an initiative of the Judicial Service targeted at students in second cycle institutions for them to interact with members of the Bench and the Bar to stimulate their interest in the legal profession so they take up careers in it. It is also meant to demystify the administration of justice.
One important feature of the programme is the observation of court proceedings which afforded participants the opportunity to ask questions of the presiding Judge. Through this yearly initiative by the Judicial Service, some female head porters have gone back to school.
That notwithstanding, each school is given the opportunity to pose questions to panel discussants on theme related issues. During the mentoring session, students are briefed on the requirements for enrolment into the legal profession, functions of the Judiciary, the procedure for appointing Judges including the Chief Justice and the history behind the celebration of the Martyrs’ Day.
The 10 participating schools for this year’s programme were O’reilly Senior High School, Salem Senior High School, Tema Senior High School, Kinbu Senior High Technical School and Akropong School for the Blind. The rest were Holy Trinity Senior High School, Ghanata Senior High School, La Presby Senior High School, Mampong Demonstration School for the Deaf and female head porters (kayayei) brought in by UNFPA.