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An education support programme, which seeks to address the challenges of girl-child education, has been launched in the Builsa North District of the Upper East Region to help vulnerable girls to complete their education.
The Campaign For Female Education (CAMFED) Ghana, a non governmental organisation, is providing support for the programme whilst the Builsa District Education Committee is to implement the programme with supervision from the District Directorate of Education.
The support would consist of the provision of bursaries to needy girls in junior high and senior high schools (SHS) which would include the payment of school fees for girls SHS, payment of examination fees for final year students, supply of uniform, bags, footwear, calculators, sanitary wear, textbooks, mathematical sets, note books, exercise books, pens and soap.
The programme would also provide food ration to girls living in hostels. The school fees are to be paid through the Ghana Education Service for first year students or directly to the school for continuing students.
Mr Cyril Yabepone, Education Programme Manager, in a speech read for the Executive Director of CAMFED Ghana, Mrs Dolores Dickson, said poverty remained a critical factor in girls’ access to education, their retention and progression, particularly in the northern parts of the country.
She said there were many girls who were out of school today just because their parents could not provide their basic educational needs to enable them to continue with their education and that they often became victims of teenage pregnancy as they attempted to find help elsewhere to pay their school fees, buy books or food.
“These girls drop out of school and therefore miss the opportunity to go through school and become gainfully employed in future. The cycle of poverty continues in their families. Again less girls are enrolled in JHS as compared to boys.
“The situation in Builsa North District is not different and that is why CAMFED, with funding from its donors, is focusing at addressing the problem”
She said the expansion of CAMFED programmes to the Builsa North District brings the total number of districts benefiting from the CAMFED programme to 30 across the country and five in the Upper East Region.
“This expansion has been made possible by the generous support of the government of the United Kingdom through the DFID office in Ghana.
“In this partnership project called ‘Accountable Grants,’ DFID Ghana is providing £9.5million grant to CAMFED to support the education of 20,000 girls from poor households who have big dreams for themselves, their communities and the country but whose dreams can be terminated because their parents lack the means to finance their education.
“This investment will be targeting girls in the Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. Gladly, Builsa North is among the five districts in the Upper East Region that will be benefiting from this investment”.
Mr Norbert Awulley, District Chief Executive, commended the NGO for complementing the efforts of government in education delivery and said the programme would help address the fallen education standards, particularly that of the girl-child, in the district.
He called on all stakeholders, including the District Education Committee, Parent and Teachers Associations, School Management Committees and traditional rulers and parents, to support the programme adding “education is the panacea for development”
As part of the package the NGO would train teachers selected by the heads of partner schools in the district to provide mentoring to beneficiaries.
Naab Afulang Apigjiak, Chief of Siniensi and Chairman of the District Education Committee, pledged to work hard to ensure that the programme was effectively implemented.