He said it was important that environmental sanitation was made an urgent national priority.
He was addressing the fourth speech and prize-giving day of the Mamfe Methodist Girls High School (MEGHIS) at Mamfe-Akwapim.
‘Discipline: pre-requisite for academic excellence, stakeholders take’ was the theme chosen for the event.
Former President Rawlings applauded the school for maintaining a healthy and tidy environment, and asked that the students carried that discipline to their homes and communities.
He used the occasion to counsel the young girls to remain focused, have self-believe and refuse to be defined by stereotypes.
He added that they should work hard and with passion to live their academic dreams.
Ms Afisa Otiko Djaba, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, said her ministry was eager to make sure that every Ghanaian was provided the opportunity to receive education.
They should not only be enrolled in school, but should be retained, she added.
She called for all to take advantage of the government’s Free Senior High School policy to lift themselves out of poverty and to make their lives meaningful to the society.
Former headmistress of the Wesley Girls Senior High School (SHS), Mrs Nancy Thompson, advised the youth to uphold the values of discipline, integrity and hard work.
She said it was the path to life success, adding that cutting corners led to nowhere.
She encouraged the students to focus on their education and avoid any missteps likely to ruin their future.
Mrs Sylvia Isabella Laryea, the headmistress of the school, complained about the poor nature of roads in the school, and said this needed to be fixed to save the students and teachers from dust.
She also appealed for a school bus and the construction of an assembly and dining halls.
Deserving students, teachers and some non-teaching staff were recognised with prizes.