Mentorship to curb school dropout begins in Bawku West District

A level 100 student of the Ashesi University, Mr Godwin Abugbilla, has begun a mentorship project in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region to help curb the spate of school dropouts in the area.

The move dubbed, “Students Activeness and Motivational Award Project (SAM AP)” with a grant from the Ashesi University is aimed at providing  source of encouragement and mentorship activities to students to help retain them in school to complete.

Many students of school going age in the Bawku West District have dropped out of school in search for quick riches through illegal mining (galamsey) while others especially the girls had become pregnant and had gone into early marriage.

The phenomenon was not only affecting the growth and development of children but   was also increasing the illiteracy rate in the area.

Addressing some of the students at the Kpantarigo community in the area on Saturday, Mr Abugbilla, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Management Information System (MIS), noted that apart from parents prioritising farming at the expense of children’s education in the area, the illegal mining ongoing in the area was also a factor that pushes many students to drop out of school and go in for such venture.

He stressed that it was among his topmost agenda to help increase students’ retention in schools and improve academic performance in the area and that he was making it possible to help the students to appreciate the significance of education to their growth and development.

Mr Abugbilla said it was very regrettable that students in the area did not see the importance of staying in school to learn, instead, they engage in the illegal mining activities to get rich quick, thereby putting pressure on the few who were in school to also drop out.

“I came home and realised that most of the students are dropping out of school and people attributed the issue to lack of motivation, mentorship and because some young people have made money from galamsey, some parents are also putting pressure on their children to also drop out and make quick money,” he revealed.

Mr Abugbilla noted that the project, was therefore,  aimed at  mentoring  students through quiz competition, entrepreneurship thinking activities among others to motivate them to appreciate the role of education in their development and place importance on it.

He said the project which was initiated with a quiz competition among four Junior High Schools would also constantly provide guidance to students in the area regarding choice of courses and future careers.

Through the project, he said, it was also expected that students especially girls would be empowered to desist from activities that would lead to unplanned pregnancies and early child marriages.

“Some of the activities will also prepare students towards their final examination, particularly the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and help to achieve academic resilience and excellence,” he added.

While commending the Ashesi University for sponsoring the project, Mr Abugbilla, appealed to parents to invest in their children’s education as the surest way to creating enabling environment for development and poverty reduction.

He told the students that “whatever you can think or dream is achievable and it is within you to make it possible.”

Mr Pius Agbango, Headteacher for Kpantarigo JHS lauded the efforts of Mr Abugbilla to help change the situation in the area and encouraged the students to study hard and eschew social vices.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, KPANTARIGO

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