In celebrating this year’s edition of the International Day of Forests (IDF), which is done annually on 21st March, the Forestry Commission ( FC) has held an inter-schools debate competition. The competing schools were the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School, Legon (PRESEC) and Achimota School , at the premises of FC.
The aim of the event was to create awareness on the importance of forests as well as imbibe a sense of responsibility towards protecting and nurturing trees in the youth.
Mr. Hugh Brown, Executive Director, of Forest Services Division (FSD), expressed appreciation to both schools for honoring the invitation to participate in the debate competition which forms part of activities to mark the 2023 IDF. He added that he trusts both schools are well prepared to present sound points to support their stances.
The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in charge of Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu- Bio, in a speech, emphasised that this year’s IDF activities were organised with the youth in mind. He continued that it is for this reason that both schools were invited to participate in a debate competition on the motion “ Mining contributes significantly to Ghana’s foreign exchange and GDP. Some of the ore deposits are found in Forest Reserves. Do you think we should mine in the Forest Reserves?”. The Deputy Minister added that the programme will be sustained as it is informative and educative. He concluded by emphasising that FC’s commitment to halt deforestation has been loud and clear in order to leave future generations with more valuable forests and wildlife endowments than we inherited . There is therefore, the need to recommit to healthy forests for healthier livelihoods.
The debate competition commenced with an introduction of the panel of judges namely; Prof. Dan Ofori, Dr. Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko and Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng. Both schools were each represented by two speakers who took turns in defending their stances. Presbyterian Boys Senior High School stood against the motion whiles Achimota School stood for the motion.
The Chief Executive of FC, Mr. John Allotey, in his closing remarks, congratulated both schools for their efforts and the in-depth knowledge displayed on the topic. He urged them to seek to protect trees as they grow and added that he would have loved to see more ladies particate in the debate competition.
At the end of the competition, Presbyterian Boys Senior High School emerged the winner and took away GHc10,000 cash prize, 2 desktop computers, a book titled “ The Remnants of a Haunted Past” , by Yaw Pare, a plaque, certificate, 10 IDF branded exercise books and T-shirts , and a box of pens . Achimota School took away a cash prize of GHC5,000.00, two desktop computers , a book titled “ The Remnants of a Haunted Past” by Yaw Pare, a plaque, certificate, 10 IDF branded exercise books and T-shirts, and a box of pens. Each of the two schools also took home 60 cans of Pica Rice Pudding donated by Pica Foods.