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15.09.2004 Regional News

Sixty percent of children out of school - Agona DCE

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Agona Asafo (C/R), Sept 15, GNA - Only about 36,000 out of 80,000 representing 40 per cent of children of school going -age in the Agona District of the Central Region are in the classroom. Mr John Kwesi Agyabeng, District Chief Executive for Agona, said this at the climax of the annual Akwambo Festival of the Chiefs and people of Agona Asafo.

To stem the trend, the District Assembly has approved free school fees from Primary one to Junior Secondary School three for pupils in public schools this academic year, which begins this month. He said a survey conducted by the Assembly revealed that 60 percent of the children in the district were not enrolled and were roaming the streets of towns and villages.

The DCE said the survey also showed that many parents could not afford to pay the 13,500 cedis annual school fees approved by the District Assembly for Ghana Education Service (GES). Mr Agyabeng said the Assembly had agreed to use part of its share of the Common Fund for the exercise to ensure that every child of school going age enrolled. He pointed out that the standard of education in the area was not encouraging and said there was the need for improvement to ensure quality education.

The DCE appealed to parents, guardians, School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to play their expected roles to ensure that the programme succeeded. Mr Agyabeng assured the chiefs and people of Asafo that the District Assembly would continue to utilise resources provided by the Government judiciously for the benefit of all. He promised that the District Assembly would also help to establish an educational endowment fund initiated by the chiefs and people to promote education.

Nana Yamfo Asuoko, Chief of Agona Asafo, said the people were constructing a library with computers facilities at the cost of 300 million cedis to improve education. He urged the citizens of the town to contribute towards the educational fund to enhance quality teaching and learning.