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16.05.2009 Education

Education in Northern Regions should be prioritized under SADA-ISODEC

By GNA
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Bolgatanga, May 16, GNA - Mr Jonathan Adabre, Upper East Regional Manager, of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) has underscored the need for education in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to be given attention under the implementation of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Mr Adabre explained that the poverty level in the Northern Regions was having a negative impact on education and said the aim of SADA would not be properly achieved if education was not given priority.

He noted that the disparity of education between the north and the south was too wide and should be given serious attention, especially with the intended implementation of the SADA.

He said SADA as explained by the Government was to establish several poverty interventions in the area of the expansion of agriculture, road networks, education among others in the three Northern Regions to help bridge the developmental gap between the north and the south.

Mr Adabre indicated that although educational development in Ghana had shown some improvements in the last decade, particularly in the area of provision of infrastructure and enrolment rates at the basic level, especially for girls, there were still far too many children in the three Northern Regions, who were not in school.

He explained that the Regional Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) and the National Enrollment Rate (NER) trends since 2001 and 2002 showed that Regions with high incidence of poverty had lowest GER and NER, particularly when disaggregated by gender.

Citing a data from UNICEF Multi Cluster Survey (MICS) in 2006, the Regional Manager of ISODEC said it showed primary attendance ratio of 54.6 per cent for Northern Region, 70.2 Upper East and 60.4 for the Upper West Region compared to the national ratio of 75.6 per cent and said just as poverty affects enrolment, the effects with households wealth on educational attainment suggest that children attain different levels of education across wealth groups.

He indicated that with regards to NER at the Junior Secondary level, there have been tremendous improvement across the three Northern Regions over the last six years but the gap between the National NER of 50.7 per cent and the NER across the three Northern Regions remained wide with Northern Region, 35.1 per cent, Upper East, 36.6 per cent and Upper West, 41.4 per cent.

He said there was also a significant gap in enrolment rates between boys and girls and that figures according to the 2006 and 2007 NER at the primary level in the Northern Region was 63.6 per cent for girls and 74 .4 per cent for boys.

Mr Adabre indicated that the gender gap between boys and girls in the Northern Region was much more pronounced at the JSS level and noted that although there have been some improvement in the last six years it was likely the trend might begin to decline as the school feeding programme across northern Ghana by the World Food Programme and Catholic Relief Service had ended.

He said though the Government introduced the school feeding programme in 2005 to improve enrolment, attendance and retention in the basic schools, it was still being confronted with a number of challenges, which was affecting it.

Mr Adabre stressed the need for more training colleges to be put up to train teachers, saying that, most of the schools in the country, especially in the three Northern Regions, were manned by untrained teachers and this was affecting pupil's performance.

He suggested that teachers who accept posting to rural areas should be adequately motivated to encourage them to put up their best and asked that the appropriate educational materials be made available for schools to enhance academic work”.

Government and Non-Governmental Organizations, Stakeholders in Education, he said, should endeavour to lobby from donors to get more Feeding Packages for the most deprived schools in the country.

GNA

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