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08.09.2005 Education

Non-formal education relevant- Miniter


Ho, Sept. 8, GNA - Resources directed at non-formal education, were worthwhile investments in national development through the eradication of illiteracy and not an unnecessary burden on the economy. It was also in fulfilment of national and international obligations towards affording every citizen the right to education and literacy. These points were made by speakers at this year's celebration of the International Literacy Day in Ho under the theme, "Literacy and Sustainable Rural Development".

Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in- charge of Tertiary Education said, "non-formal education comes in when the formal sector has failed." She said though the country's literacy rate had improved from 32 percent in 1984 to 53 percent now that was "hardly enough to start ongratulating ourselves".

Ms Ohene therefore, urged all parents and communities to help in getting all children of school going age to enroll once the next academic year starts on September 13 this year. "With the Capitation Grant, the last excuse has gone for any parent to give the inability to pay fees as the reason for keeping a child out of school," she said.

Ms. Ohene said the country also needed to approach functional literacy with renewed vigour because literate parents are far more likely to invest in educating their children and take an active part in improving the quality of education in their localities.

That was especially the case when women became literate "because a literate mother would do all she could to have her children educated." She said there was the need to establish a tracking system to monitor beneficiaries of non-formal education because "it was wasteful to imagine that once a learner, be it a product of formal or informal sector completes his or her course, he or she was set for life." That, Ms Ohene indicated, was a mistake, which had led many literates to relapse into illiteracy.

As a remedy, she recommended the creation of linkages between formal and non-formal system so that those with professions could have access to productive skills or employment related training. Referring to statistics on the non-formal education programme, Ms Ohene said 74-76 percent of its beneficiaries so far were between 15-44 years, "clearly, the productive age group".

In his address, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Dzamesi said over 60 percent of people between 30-65 years in the region were illiterate. He said to improve the situation there was urgent need to step up non-formal education activities hence the strategic importance of the Non- Formal Education Division (NFED) of the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Mr. Dzamesi therefore, urged staff of the NFED to step up their activities to justify the investments being made on the Division. Mr Samuel Salifu Mogre, National Director of the NFED said the Division had succeeded in making over one million people literate in remote parts of the country.

He said to achieve education for all required investment in functional literacy and that the results so far justified the need for such investments.

Mr Thomas Seshie, Volta Regional Co-ordinator of the NFED, said the Division has a full -fledged structure that takes care of the literacy needs of all sections of society, including all forms of physically challenged persons.

He said there was need for individuals and communities to encourage illiterate older children and adults to attend functional literacy classes and also get trained to acquire productive skills. Some of the beneficiaries of the adult literacy programme in the Volta Region one of whom made it to Teacher Training College and the other attaining Computer literacy demonstrated their skills in public speaking and reading in Ewe and English Languages. They included a 63 year-old woman.