By Hannah Dadzie
The Minister of Education, Yaw Osei Adutwum has asked stakeholders in education to help reduce sports betting among the youth in the country. This follows research by Baraka Policy Institute, BPI, a policy Think Tank which revealed that sports betting has become a serious social vice among the youth.
The research revealed that children mostly below 18 years are deeply engaged in sports betting at the expense of their studies. Speaking at the 8th BPI Annual Public Lectures 2022, Dr. Osei Adutwum said if the problem persists it will ruin the effort by government and other stakeholders to ensure every child is in school.
The BPI Annual Public Lectures which started in 2015 are purposely designed to provoke reflections on critical issues that need attention on national developmental efforts, especially education. The lecture, which brought together key stakeholders in national development including experts, government officials, and civil society groups focused on Ghana’s system of education, challenges and prospects, and the prevalence of Sports Betting and its effect on child education in Ghana.
Although, betting is considered legal in Ghana, what is oblivious to many is the harm it is causing the youth. The Head of Research at Baraka Policy Institute, Dr Adam Yunus who throws more light on the findings said drivers of Sports betting proliferation among the youth include, an alarming number of betting centers and proximity to residence, schools, vulnerable communities, lack of parental control and responsibility, legal or weak regulation enforcement and unmeasured advertisements, especially in the media.
“There is the need to deal with sports betting effects on child development now. Also there should be stronger Coalition and campaign by moral religious authorities including civil society organization.”Dr Yunus.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum said the Ministry will engage the Gaming Commission, and all other relevant agencies to work together to enforce the existing law on gaming to prevent children from engaging in sports betting.
“Your research on betting has opened my eyes and woken me up, and I think we need to do something about. It is not acceptable and this is not grounds for the children or the parents alone, the it is the responsibility of all us. I will be one of the advocates against sports betting” The Education Minister.
President of BPI, Salem Kalmoni, pledged the Institute’s support through policy suggestions.
to ensure that every child gain access to quality education.
An Educationist, Dr Gamel Nasser Adam, who spoke on the topic ” the National Development Agenda and Ghana’s System of Education: Challenges and Prospects, called for the need for policymakers in education to nurture critical thinkers who will help transform the fortunes of the country’s economy.
The Lecture was on the theme “Towards Achieving the SDGs on Education: Tackling Socio-Economic Forces Against Progress in Ghana.” Also present were a Development Analyst, Kwame Akyea, Educationist and Board Chairman of National Teaching Council, NTC, Dr. Anis Haffer, other educationists, and students.