Tamale (N/R), May 22, GNA - The World Food Programme (WFP), has awarded 74 girls from the three Northern Regions for their excellent performance in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). The scholarship scheme, which started in 2001, is to ensure that brilliant but needy girls who completed WFP-assisted schools were supported to further their education despite the financial challenges. Some 15 girls; eight from the Northern Region, five from the Upper East and two from the Upper West Region benefited from this year's awards, while the remaining awards went to girls who performed well from previous years.
The awards which took place at Dungu, a suburb of Tamale on Thursday was under the theme; "Women and men united to end violence against women and girls through girl's empowerment". The occasion also marked the seventh GES/WFP Girl's Education Scholarships and Awards ceremony.
Each of the 15 beneficiaries received a cheque for GH¢400, certificates, hampers and books.
Mr. Thomas McKnight, Head of WFP in Northern Region said, the WFP educational activity in Northern Ghana has chalked great successes by achieving 500 percent in girl's enrolment and a retention rate of 98 percent and overall increase in the ratio of girls to boys in the targeted schools.
He noted that it was time the WFP withdrew its assistance to only girl-child education, and place emphasis on the education of both sexes. Mr. McKnight urged the recipients of the scholarships to continue working hard despite the challenges. Mr. Moses Mabengba, Deputy Northern Regional Minister reiterated government's commitment to improving the quality of education in the country and noted that the standard of education in the country was fast declining.
He said it was unfortunate that although Tamale Metropolis had enough facilities and teaching aids to make students excel better than other schools in the Northern sector, none of the students from the Metropolis was able to meet the set target.
Adding that, BECE performance in the Metropolis in 2008 was worse than what had been prevailing in recent times, and urged students to work hard to bring back the old glories. Ms Rikiatu Husseini, a Lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS) recounted the ordeal she had to go through to make through education as a motivation to the girl-child, saying that all was not lost and that they had a lot of opportunities that would make them excel. She said with education, girls could have the best opportunities in life; good jobs, good husbands and other meaningful opportunities that would make life bearable.