Many children in rural communities in the Upper West Region who, for no fault of theirs, could not be enrolled in school now have a chance to be in the classroom.
These children, who are shepherds and also services to their parents on farms, have now been enrolled in basic school under the Ghana Complementary Basic Education Programme.
The Department for International Development (DFID) funded Project, through Crown Agent U.K, basically is a nine-month functional literacy programme for out of school children between the ages of eight and 14 years.
The children under this project are provided with three hours mother tongue literacy and numeracy lessons and are assessed by the Ghana Education Service (GES) and integrated into the formal education system.
The project is a flexible education system which allows the children in the community to wear any type of clothes that they have to the school and it is free of charge.
ProNet North, a non-governmental organization, is the implementer of the three- year project in collaboration with Ministry of Education to cater for rural children whose parents due to some social and economic challenges could not enrol them in basic school.
At the graduation ceremony for 25 learners at Kahaa Community in the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District, Mr. Samuel Lanidune, Project Manager of GCBCP, said the children would be integrated into primary three and Primary four this academic year after they had been assessed.
He said after the completion of the project, the government would take over the project as an innovative way of getting all children in the communities enroll in the project.
Mr. Lanidune said the project was being piloted and that it would be implemented across the country when government takes over.
Mr. Evans Kpebah, the Deputy Director of Education, said circuit supervisors had been detailed to monitor the project and that many of the children in the communities who were out of school had now been enrolled in the project.
He said 20 communities in the district were beneficiaries of the project and school fees at the basic educational level had been catered for by the government.
The Deputy Director however said some of the children were not properly prepared to be absorbed because numeracy and literacy levels seemed low.
Mr. Kpebah said the GES had put in place plans to provide teachers manning those literacy classes with special training to enable them to effectively handle the children to enhance quality teaching and learning.
He said issues of logistics such as the provision of textbooks and furniture should be looked into because provision reparation had not been made for them.
He appealed to the district assembly to help to provide textbooks and furniture for the children for the successful implementation of the project.
A local Committee Member, Mad Cecilia Abu, said the “Dagaare” language was a challenge to the youth, who could not speak it properly but expressed the happiness that with implementation of the project the proper usage of the language would be provided them.
“Our language was dying out because of the mixture of our languages with other language. We are happy the proper usage of “Dagaare” will be promoted and spread across the communities”, she said.
Mr. Francis Sundire, Desk Officer of the project at the GES, called for the increase of the class size from 25 to 35 because many more children are unable to be enrolled because of the class quota.
A participant, Miss Chali Pogzianaa, said it has been her dream to become a teacher but that the dream would not have been realized if not for the project and pledged that she would learn hard to make her dream come true.