UEW Commemorates Ghana National History Day

The 2017 Ghana National History Day (GNHD) was marked on the theme, "Taking a Stand in History". The idea is to make history more engaging and help increase interest in knowing our past as Ghanaians. This theme helped participants to think about people, ideas and events that indicate a stand taken in the past, how relevant it is for history and what lessons can be learnt for the future. The main activities included a national history contest and sensitization on the relevance of history.

While the celebration was on 3 March 2017, there were activities throughout the year to prepare. To increase involvement and participation of students and history enthusiasts in the GNHD celebration, a number of workshops were held both at the University of Education and in selected senior high schools for teachers and students to prepare them for the contest and the programme. Also an outreach to SHSs was conducted during the prior week to sensitize history students about the relevance of history, what the Department of History Education at UEW has to offer history students, and also misconceptions about history. The Association of History Students (ASHIS) and enthusiastic history students from UEW contributed their thoughts with these issues during the outreach.

The GNHD contest requires participants to choose a topic related to the theme, collect data on the topic, analyze their findings and share their findings by making a project; that is by writing a historical paper, an exhibit, performance, historical documentary or historical webpage. The 2017 GNHD contest saw greater student participation.

This year, seven SHSs participated in the contest, out of the thirteen who where involved in the programme generally. These 13 SHSs included Holy Child SHS, Adisadel College, Mfantsipim School, Apam SHS, Mando SHS, Ekumfi T. I. Ahmadiyya SHS, Potsin T. I. Ahmadiyya SHS, Swedru School of Business, Agona Nyarkrom SHS, Winneba Secondary School, Winneba Business SHS, Zion Girls SHS and Uncle Rich SHS. At the tertiary level, University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Development Studies took part in the programme.

The climax of the 2017 GNHD celebration was on 3 March 2017 starting at 9:00 am at the forecourt of the Faculty of Social Science Education block. Prof. R. H. Kofi Darkwah, former Dean of Social Sciences Education, chaired the programme. The keynote speaker was Mr. Manu Herbstein, a South African novelist who has written several historical novels. Other dignitaries present were Dr. Kofi Baku (UG), Mr. Alex Essah (Deputy Registrar, Operations), Dr. Gabriel Botchwey (HoD, Political Science Edu.), Dr. Harrison Golo (Director, Centre for Conflicts, Human Rights and Peace Studies), Dr. Lucy E. Attom (Social Studies Edu.), Dr. Adu-Gyamfi (KUNST), and Dr. Owusu Ansah (KNUST) amongst others. The Head of the History Education Department was also present to welcome all who honoured the invitation to participate in the programme.

During the event, students who took part in the 2017 GNHD contest were awarded. Out of those who participated in the contest, Holy Child SHS won the Best Group Exhibit. The topic for their exhibit was “A Stand for the Maintenance of the African Christian)”. Mando SHS won the Best Group Performance; their topic was “Who should take the Stand?” Winneba SHS also won the Best Group Historical Webpage.

For the tertiary level, UEW emerged winners in all categories contested. The Best Historical Paper went to Prince Essiaw. The Best Individual Exhibit went to Isaac Marfo. The title for the Best Group Exhibit was ‘Taking a Stand in Promoting Ghanaian Culture by Dr. Kwabena Agyei Through Commercializing Local Alcoholic Gin and Beverages”. Richmond Nti Yanney won the Best Individual Performance, titled “Prof. Adu Boahen’s lectures were the Gateway to our Democracy”. The title for the Best Group Performance was “Efuwa Edwumako: Defying Patriarchy”. The title for the Best Group Documentary was “Disability is Not Inability: A Stand Taken by Rev. John Appiah to Educate Children with Physical and Mental Disabilities”.

For all the categories contested, winners won a plague with the Sankcfa symbol, which is the symbol adopted by the GNHD project, to signify the need to reach for our past. Winners were also awarded books and stationery. The stationery was a donation from SAMARA Group of Companies. The Ag. Head of Department, Dr. Jim Weiler was also honoured with a citation for his efforts at making the Department of History Education a unique department by leading efforts at rebranding courses, initiating projects such as the Community History Writing Project and the Ghana National History Day.

The 2017 GNHD celebration showed that more people were becoming passionate about the study of history. Apart from History Students, students from other departments also willingly took part in the contest. That is, gradually everyone is beginning to understand the relevance of our history and that is what the GNHD project intends to propagate.

Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of the programme; especially the staff, national service persons and students of the Department of History Education. Special gratitude also goes to all other persons who helped to make this programme great.