Accra, Jan 17, GNA - Mrs Laura Bush, the visiting United States First Lady, on Tuesday pledged her country's commitment to improve education in Africa and Ghana in particular by ensuring that every child had access to education.
She said every child, whether rich or poor, must be given the opportunity of education because it was only through that means that the child would be able to contribute to the development of the country. Mrs Bush said this when she launched the Textbook and Learning Materials Programme (TLMP) at the Accra Teacher Training College that is a component of the Africa Education Initiative (AEI) announced by President George Bush in June 2002.
About 25,000 books would be given to the libraries in Ghana and 300,000 teachers would receive training under this programme. President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mrs Pamela Bridgewater, the US Ambassador in Ghana, Mrs Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education and six university presidents in the United States accompanied her.
The AEI focuses on three primary activities: girls' scholarships, teacher training and textbook and learning materials development and will receive 600 million dollars over eight-year period. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Tuesday between the Chicago State University, the United States Agency for International Development and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for the commencement of the programme in Ghana.
Mrs Bush said more than one-third of children in Africa were not enrolled in primary school and that Ghana had made an improvement in this direction by ensuring that every child was educated with over 83 per cent achievement in 2004, which was a positive result.
She noted that the challenges hindering the progress of the education sector included the lack of textbooks and other learning materials, adding that the TLMP specifically focused on providing assistance to resolve that challenge.
Its objective was to develop and produce quality and culturally relevant textbooks and educational materials for grade K-8 in mathematics, science, language, arts and reading for selected sub-Saharan African Countries, she said, adding that the initiative would be sustained for years to come.