Ho, Apr. 13, GNA -An Educational Endowment Fund for the Volta Region, targeted to hit three billion cedis within the next three years, was launched in Ho on Tuesday.
The fund, which is expected to help to rapidly arrest the downward trend of education in the region is already worth 211 million cedis. Mr Emmanuel Chance, Proprietor of the Chances Hotel in Ho, gave the first seed money of five million cedis, while the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC), gave 20 million cedis with each of the 12 District Assemblies in the region donating 15 million cedis.
Barima Owusu Afari, a Business Executive and Volta Region's representative on the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) pledged five million cedis and Dr George Mawusi Afeti, Principal of Ho Polytechnic, and his wife, one million cedis.
Launching the Fund at a meeting of the VRCC on Tuesday, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minister, said the performance of the region in the recent ranking of all Senior Secondary Schools in the country in the 2003 SSCE results, attested to the rising concerns about the deteriorating standards of education in the region.
He said the respect the region won "nationwide for producing scholars and professionals of great distinct" was now a past proverbial adage, as the situation of educational standards in the region "appears to be growing from bad to worse".
Mr Owusu-Yeboa recounted that in 2001, the VRCC, initiated a "hugely successful" forum to address the issue, under the theme, "towards the Provision of Quality Formal Education in the Volta Region", which recommended such a fund.
"Money is a very important resource for the success of every enterprise. We need money to develop our educational infrastructure, motivate our teachers to deliver effectively, provide inputs and give scholarships to brilliant but needy pupils and students of the region and all these can promote high educational standards in the region", he stated.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa, asked District Assemblies which already had such funds not to feel threatened since "their efforts and ours should be seen as complementary in our collective resolve to halt the downward trend of educational standards in the region and hasten the socio-economic development of the region".
He promised that the Management Board of the Fund would comprise honest, selfless, dedicated and committed personalities.
The Minister said the Board would also come out with a constitution to facilitate an effective and efficient management of the Fund so that the right and desired impact on education delivery in the region could be achieved as part of our overall development strategy.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa appealed to well-meaning citizens, living in and outside the region, friends and sympathisers and corporate bodies in and outside the region to support the Fund with donations.
Mr Chances suggested that a website be established and a foreign account opened to mobilise contributions of people from the Volta Region living outside the country.
Mr Samuel Donkor Gyang, Volta Regional Director of Education announced that Kete-Krachi and Nkwanta districts would benefit from a schools improvement programme to enrol and keep all children of school-going age in school till they complete basic school.
He said when the 32 million dollar, five-year project starts in May, this year, all fees in the two districts would be abolished and school infrastructure among other things, taken care of.
He said the other 10 district, would also benefit from a GETFUND project that would provide the school needs of a selected number of pupils of all sexes.
In his contribution Dr Afeti described the launch as a landmark event. He said donor supported education improvement projects such as the one directed at school enrolment in the Krachi and Nkwanta districts should be sustained. 13 April. 04