Children out-of-school, totalling 949, in the Mion District of the Northern Region, have acquired literacy and numeracy skills making them ready to enroll in the formal school system.
The children, comprising 363 females and 586 males, were part of 979 others, who benefited from the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) programme for nine months (October 2019 to September 2020).
Through the CBE, the children, who were beyond school starting age of eight to 16 years, acquired basic literacy and numeracy skills in their mother-tongues and would be placed in various classes starting from class three when basic schools reopen in January.
Plan International Ghana, a child-centered non-governmental organisation, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and Educate A Child, implemented the CBE under a project dubbed: “Reaching and Teaching out-of-school Children (REACH)”.
REACH is a five-year project, which began in 2015 to address the out-of-school children phenomenon in the country.
Mr Baba Musah, Sambu Circuit Supervisor of the Mion District Directorate of Education, who spoke at the graduation ceremony, urged parents to support their children to remain in school.
“I welcome these children into the formal school system and this means that when school resumes, they will automatically be admitted into the various classes they have been placed,” he said.
“I urge all parents to support this achievement and ensure they prepare, provide the basic school needs and send the children to the schools for admission when school resumes in January. No child should be left behind again.”
Graduation ceremonies were also held in seven districts: East Mamprusi, Gushegu, Karaga, Mion, Nanumba North and South, and Kpandai for about 7,500 other children, who also benefited from the CBE programme.
This year’s graduation brought to an end the REACH project, through which about 93,000 out-of-school children were enrolled under the CBE programme in various districts across the country.
Ninety three per cent of them had joined the formal school system.
Mr Mbayan Maaja, Local CBE Committee Chairman and Parent from the Gmapoido Community in the Mion District, who was at the ceremony, said: “We have seen the transformation the CBE class has brought into the lives of our children and we are very excited for this support from Plan International Ghana.”
“Within nine months our children can read and write and their focus have moved from other unnecessary and dangerous activities like hunting to schooling. We have come to realise how important education is and it is our resolve that no children from our community will be denied the opportunity to be in school.”
Mr Sulemana Hor Gbana, Project Manager at the Northern Programme Support Office of Plan International Ghana, said the REACH project had achieved tremendous successes as many out-of-school children were in formal schools across the country.
“We set out to enroll 90,000 children on the project and we succeeded in enrolling about 93,000. We also said 90 per cent of this number should complete the CBE programme, and we had about 92 percent of those enrolled on the programme completing,” he said.
“We also set a target to get at least 70 per cent of those that we graduate to transition to formal schools and we had about 93 per cent of those we graduated also transitioning to formal schools. So it was a great success.”
Mr Gbana said through the project, many parents had realised the importance of education and were ready to support their children to acquire same.
The project had also built the capacities of about 4,000 community volunteers or CBE facilitators to support efforts to ensure children accessed formal education in their communities.
“We also tackle cultural issues such as early marriages and parents preferring to send only their boys to school. So, overall, we have achieved our objectives so far as the project is concerned,” he said.
Mr Gbana appealed for more school infrastructure in communities that did not have them, recruitment and posting of teachers to underserved communities and the commitment of parents to support the education of their children to ensure they all accessed formal education.