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01.04.2005 Education

French Ambassador launches education based Radio programme in Upper West

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Nandom (UW), April 1, GNA - Mr Pierre Jacquemot, French Ambassador on Thursday launched an education programme which would use a community FM station based at Nandom to transmit education programmes to schools in the Lawra district and parts of the Sissala West and Jirapa/Lambussie districts.

The station known as FREED Radio, will develop, produce and broadcast quality lessons based on the Ghana Education Service curricular to the schools most of which lack teachers and relevant learning materials.

It was established by Foundation for Rural Education Empowerment and a local Non-Governmental Organization (FREED) with support from the French Fund for Social Development, Catholic Relief Services and Action Aid, Ghana.

Mr Jacquemot who was on his first duty tour outside Accra since he assumed office two months ago, noted that lack of teachers and inadequate learning materials was a major hindrance to the development of education in rural areas and therefore, saw the programmes of FREED as worthy of assistance.

He expressed the hope that the programmes of Radio FREED would offer a lasting solution to practical problems of education in its catchment area.

The French Ambassador congratulated the teachers in the area for accepting to serve in rural areas where living conditions were very deplorable.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister, said the aim of the station was in line with the government's priority areas of human resource development, private sector development and good governance.

Mr Dery, who is a Founding member of FREED, suggested that the programme be extended to the entire Upper West region and beyond. He reminded promoters of Radio FREED that though radio was highly beneficial, it could also destroy society depending on how it was used especially if messages and issues were not properly package or presented negatively.

"The use of radio to fan divisions, animosity and confusion must not be allowed", the Regional Minister advised.

In a speech read for him, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Minister of Education and Sports, said good quality education in any country, was a key to reducing poverty and chronic food insecurity, and commended Radio FREED for devoting 60 per cent of its airtime to educational programmes. He called on Regional and District directorates of education to support FREED and its programmes to make them successful so that they could be replicated in other areas.

He urged the station's managers to get actively engaged in the development of lessons to ensure that the highest quality of teaching was developed on Radio.

The Acting Executive Secretary of FREED, Mr Hippolyt Pul, said his organization would launch an ICT programme to serve as a backbone to their long distance learning initiative.

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