27.04.2005 Education

Government urged to address specific education issues in the North

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Fooshegu (N/R), April 27, GNA - A coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), engaged in education development, has appealed to the Government to address specific issues hampering educational pursuit in Northern Ghana.

The coalition noted that about 30 per cent of children in Northern Ghana were not in school while the school drop out rate of girls was still high.

Poverty was also endemic forcing some parents to withdraw their wards from school.

There are indications that Northern Ghana is painfully missing the "Millennium Development Goals", because the gender disparity in primary and universal basic education by 2015 has not been addressed. These concerns were raised at a "Global Week of Action on Education" forum at Fooshegu, near Tamale, on Tuesday. ActionAid Ghana, in collaboration with other NGOs including the Northern Network for Education Development, SEND Foundation, ISODEC, Ibis and Oxfam, organized the forum, which was on the theme: "Educate to end poverty".

The stakeholders will use the Week to among other things discussed the school drop out rate, low school enrolment and the introduction of community mapping to indicate the number of children who are in or out of school.

The NGOs noted that Northern Ghana could not afford to continue to lag behind in education.

"Universal quality basic education will help end poverty and empower women to support their families," the coalition said. The NGOs called on the Government to ensure that education was free at the basic level and provide children in rural communities with school infrastructure under the "Education Strategic Plan". The provision of mid-day meal for every basic school pupil and scholarship for needy students in the North should be encouraged. Some parents from the Fooshegu community complained of poor school structures, inadequate reading and learning materials and poverty as some of the constraints that had led parents to withdraw their children from school.

A community mapping of children in the village indicated that out of 292 children, only 66 were in school, creating a gloomy picture of the future of children in the North.

The mapping exercise was to help sensitise the community members to be conscious of the value of education and provide data on education for the purpose of campaigning for "Education for All" by the year 2015. It would also enable politicians and other people in decision-making positions to be committed to address educational challenges facing children, particularly girls in poor and rural communities.

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