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Regional News Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Forum on quality education ends in Karaga

Karaga (N/R), June 30, GNA- Participants at an education forum at Karaga, inn the Northern Region, have identified poverty and apathy among parents as factors contributing to the low standard of education in the newly created Karaga District.

They noted that the abject poverty among the people had made it difficult for them to pay school fees and buy uniforms and books for their children.

There was consensus that because of the poverty level and apathy, some parents often withdraw their children from school, send the boys to the farm and give the girls out for marriage, they said. The participants made these observations at the forum organised by the Karaga District Federation of Community Based Organisation Network in collaboration with the District Assembly.

The Forum was on the theme: "Children's Quality Education In The Karaga District."

It brought together representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Health Service, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision Ghana and traditional and religious leaders.

The purpose of the forum was to enable the participants to brainstorm on how to improve upon the standards of education in the district and raise the enthusiasm of the community and parents on the need to send their children to school.

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Mr Huseini Zakaria Ziblim, a Budget Officer of the District Education Office who spoke on: "The Current State Of Educational Standards In The Karaga District", noted that the new district lacked adequate infrastructure, logistics and transportation.

He said currently, the district had 10 pre-schools with 15 teachers, 35 primary schools with 129 teachers, while only 29 of the teachers have received formal training.

Mr Ziblim said there were five Junior Secondary Schools with 29 teachers while there is no Senior Secondary School (SSS).

He said because of the high school drop out rate and low enrolment, the pupil population of about 300,000 required for an SSS, could not be met. Mr Ziblim said it was very difficult to gather data on schools from the "overseas area" of the district, especially during the rainy season when the area was usually cut off from the rest of the country. He said the District Education Office was poorly staffed while the few personnel also face insufficient accommodation facilities.

Mr Ziblim urged parents to place premium on the education of their children since education was the bedrock on which the development of every community depended.

"Karaga will still be the same in the next 20 years if education is not taken seriously," he warned.

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Mr Osam Abdel-Rahaman of the Ghanaian Danish Community Association said the association in partnership with the School for Life, Community Life Improvement Programme and other non-governmental organisations were trying to build the capacity of rural communities to continue with projects initiated in their localities.

Mr Issah Nasagri, Regional Director of the National Commission on Civic Education, who was a resource person at the forum, appealed to well meaning Ghanaians to support the Federation of Community Based Organisations, which had taken the initiative to address urgent development needs in society.

Mr Nasagri called on teachers be committed to their work and urged students to stick to their books and avoid engaging themselves in social vices.

He also appealed to traditional rulers to maintain peace in their communities, saying: "Without peace, there cannot be any meaningful development".

Source: GNA