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16.05.2012 Education

USAID Lauds Ghana for Improving Access to Education

16.05.2012 LISTEN
By Emmanuel Bonney - Daily Graphic

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has lauded the progress made by Ghana in improving access to education across the country.

In the past decade, it said, “Ghana has made great progress in improving access to education”.

“The primary school gender gap is narrowing, evidenced by higher enrolments for girls than boys, and a national primary gender index of 0.95. This is a tremendous achievement which places Ghana among the leaders of the education for all movement,” USAID said.

The Ghana Mission Director of USAID, Ms Cheryl Anderson, said this in an address read on her behalf by Peter Argo, the Deputy USAID Mission Director, at the opening of a five-day international conference on evidenced-based education for policy making reform in Africa.

For instance, she said, there was “a global partnership for education workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, in March, where it was clear that many African countries were looking to their neighbours for proven ways to improve educational quality, and “Ghana is becoming a beacon in this regard”.

“The Ministry of Education and the GES are striving to shed light on how to help children to learn more and perform better - through their clear commitments in the Education Strategic Plan, through the introduction of the use of mother tongue language transition approach in primary schools nationwide,” she said.

The conference dubbed “Evidence Based Education: Policy-Making and Reform in Africa”, is being co-hosted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Ghana Education Service (GES), The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and USAID.

Through the evaluation of the Teacher Community Assistant Initiative and other efforts, the government of Ghana has demonstrated its willingness to make further improvements in social programmes based on scientific evidence. This openness to new ideas and enthusiasm for change is what has brought about the conference.

The conference brings together leading development researchers, senior policy makers from African countries, representatives from international development organisations, foundations and NGOs, to discuss the importance of using scientific evidence from field evaluations to guide policy.

It is also to share randomised evaluations of innovative programmes that have proven to be highly effective, and to give organisations an opportunity to provide input on the future research agenda.

Through USAID, Ms Anderson said the American people had been supporting Ghana’s efforts in the education sector- increasing access, improving quality, strengthening management, and recently providing direct support to the national literacy mother tongue instruction approach.

The USAID and its development partners, she said, were committed to working with the Ministry of Education, the GES communities and parents to strengthen and improve the education system as part of Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Strategy, and to ensure that every child had access to education.

A Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Mahama Ayariga, said the country had made significant strides in improving access to education at all levels, especially at the basic education level.

According to him, investments had been made in the provision of school infrastructure, free meals, exercise books and uniforms, adding that those had led to an increase in enrolment and access generally.

He said the country was still working to improve quality in terms of learning outcomes, and that many interventions were being put in place to realise that objective.

Mr Ayariga noted that school management, professional development of teachers and monitoring of school activities were being carried out in that direction.

The conference, he said, was being held at the right time as it would go a long way to boost the delivery of quality education.

The Country Director for IPA, Jessica Kiessel, said the participants at the event needed to know what worked in the area of education and what did not work.

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