The increasing number of Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) is an issue that needs to be confronted to make way for development in Ghana. Education is one of the most powerful tools for bringing people into the development process in order to attain socio-economic development.
In Ghana, more than 80 per cent of children are enrolled in primary schools. Compared to other countries in the sub saharan region, the country is by far ahead. However, there is still a significant number of children aged six – 14 who are still out of school.As of 2008, there was an estimated 850,000 children who were out of school.
Since 2013, the Ghana Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme, funded by UK AID and USAID, has been implemented by the World Education Inc.(WEI) and nine other non-governmental organisations in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions.
World Education has implemented the programme in six districts namely; Kintampo North and South, Pru, Sene East and West districts in Brong Ahafo Region, as well as in the Tolon District in the Northern Region.
The mother tongue is used as the medium of instruction to provide literacy and numeracy skills to OOSC aged eight to 14 to enable them to achieve minimum proficiency standards in literacy and numeracy skills within a nine-month period, and thereafter, transition into the formal school under the auspices of the Ghana Education Service.
To ensure high attendance, opening hours for CBE classes in the rural, farming and fishing areas are flexible. The CBE classes commence in the first week of October and facilitators are expected to meet the learners for a minimum of three hours for five days, usually from Mondays to Fridays. However, exceptions are made for classes to be held on Saturdays if a class cannot meet on a week day because of an occasion or event. To ensure that intervention communities are involved in the programme, community members select a five-member committee made of three females and two males to support the classes.
From its inception in 2013 till date, World Education has enrolled 12,432 OOSC out of which 9,126 children have been successfully transitioned into formal schools. Out of the remaining 3,036 learners, 1,898 learners could not have their transition mainly due to the distance to the nearest formal school or lack of formal school in communities. Further, 1,408 CBE learners are due to graduate in July 2017 and transition into formal school education in September 2017. In communities without schools, World Education is working with District Education Offices (DEOs) and District Assemblies (DAs) to establish community schools in order to provide such learners easy access to formal education during transition.
The programme has increased enrolment to formal schools and reduced OOSC in all implementing districts. Additionally, it has also created opportunities for newly recruited teachers by establishing new schools in communities without schools.
The DEO in collaboration with World Education field staff is currently considering piloting the annex school system in hard to reach communities. Annex schools are schools which are established at a different location other than its primary location.
This programme is in line with the Government of Ghana’s efforts to achieve Universal Primary School Coverage and to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4. It is also a deliberate effort to focus more on creating access to basic education for girls.
World Education Ghana is a field office of World Education, Inc., a non-profit organisation based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The organisation has long maintained a strong presence in Ghana, with a significant programme portfolio since 2001 that has centred around HIV prevention and education, integrated literacy and livelihoods, girls’ education, curriculum development, non-formal education, early grade reading, technology driven interventions and mobilising out of school youth.
In addition, the WEI prioritises building the capacity of local institutions to better plan, implement and evaluate community development programmes.
The writer is the Programme Manager, World Education, Ghana.