Over 250,000 out-of-school children in the three regions of the north have benefited from the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) programme since its inception five years ago.
Out of this number, 50 per cent of the CBE learners who have transitioned to the formal education system are girls.
The beneficiary regions are the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The CBE, initiated by Crown Agents Limited, an international development non-profit organisation, was to ensure equal access to education by all.
The five-year development project, being undertaken in collaboration with World Education and with funding from the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKaid) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was to use flexible learning approaches to teach literacy and numeracy in the afternoons over a nine-month period as a means to salvage the plight of parents and persons who could not afford education in the rural areas.
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This came to light when the Board Chair of Crown Agents, Madam Maria Stanton, paid a field visit to the Tolon and the Kumbungu districts in the Northern Region last Tuesday, to evaluate the success of the programme.
In an interaction with journalists during the visit, Madam Stanton said the CBE programme had had a positive impact on Ghana’s young population, enabling them to be part of shaping the future of the nation and contributing to the government’s commitment to provide education and opportunities for Ghana’s future leaders.
At a community durbar and a graduation ceremony held at Vawagri in the Tolon District and Zuogu in the Kumbungu District respectively, 25 from each community graduated from the nine-month programme, ready to be enrolled into formal education at the beginning of the new academic year.
The Assemblyman for the Vawagri community in the Tolon District, Mr Abu Karim, said some major challenges which prevented children from going to school was lack of schools in and around the community, as well as poverty.
He added that the impact of CBE in the community had been enormous in assisting children to learn and prepare themselves for formal education and also ensuring that school dropouts in and around the community went back to school.
He, however, mentioned the feeding of schoolchildren, school uniforms, basic teaching and learning materials, accessibility of schools and the lack of support from families of children as some challenges that prevented the ‘graduates’ from moving to the formal education sector.
Mr Karim added that parents engaged children in farming activities during the rainy season and children walked long distances in search of water.
They also engaged them in domestic activities during the dry season, which diverted their attention from school.
He appealed to the government to take over the programme from Crown Agents to make sure that more children benefited from education and also to other organisations to support the children in other ways possible.