Project to integrate 70,000 out-of-school children launched
A project to integrate some 70,000 children who are out of school into the mainstream educational system was on Wednesday launched by the Senior Advisor to the President, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo.
Dubbed: the Ghana Education Outcomes Project (GEOP), the 70,000 Out of School Children (OOSC) are expected to be taken out of the streets in 29 carefully selected districts in the country including; Kpandai, Karaga, Mamprugu Moaduri, Chereponi, North East Gonja and Krachi Nchumuru.
Launching the project, Mr Osafo-Maafo said GEOP formed part of the outcomes based financing approach to education which was first of its kind in the country and sub-Sahara.
He explained that this approach partnered with non-state actors such as service providers contracted by the Ministry of Education to train, reintegrate, and retain 70,000 OOSC in the mainstream.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said over the years, the country had made significant progress in improving learning outcomes in schools and getting children back into schools through policy direction.
However, he said existing data from the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s Institute of Statistics (USI, 2020) provided some worrying statistics which gave a breakdown as 283,000 children between the ages of six and 11 that is primary, were out of school.
Similarly, for Lower Secondary that is children between 12 and 14 years, 135,000 were out-of-school and for Upper secondary which is children between 15-17 years, 610,000 were out-of-school.
He noted that the research further indicated that the Savannah Region had the highest percentage of children (43.2 per cent) who have never attended school.
Mr Osafo-Maafo explained that the 70, 000 children would be taken through a robust Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) popularly known as Complementary Basic Education (CBE).
This he said was a nine-month programme where these children would be trained to acquire basic numeracy and literacy skills through the period.
“These children after the nine months of CBE programme shall be reintegrated into Primary 1 through 4 of the mainstream schools after they are assessed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
After this, the learners are reintegrated into the mainstream school, the Service Providers will then ensure that the learners stay in schools for a minimum of two academic years,” he emphasised.
The Senior Advisor said in addition to the Accelerated Learning Programme, the project was also designed to improve learning outcomes for an estimated number of 98,000 children for the in-school Mainstream School Improvement Programme (MSIP).
“The project which is an Additional Funding (AF) project with the theme “Getting all children educated through support to schools and communities” is financed with an amount of US$ 25.5 million by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Organisation (FCDO) grant through the Global Partnerships For Results-Based Approaches Trust Fund (GPRBA -TF), and a counterpart funding of US$ 4.5 million by the Government of Ghana,” he said.
Touching on the objectives of the project, he said it was to improve the quality of education in low-performing basic education schools in Ghana, build the human capital index of children by letting them acquire basic numeracy and literacy skills, improve learning outcomes for the target population by re-integrating OOSC into mainstream beneficiary schools.
He noted that the project had been divided into Lots during the bidding process due to the nature and intensity of the project with seven Lots in all.
Mr Osafo-Maafo explained that Lot one to six was the rural Component, while Lot 7 was the Urban Component.
He said the Ministry would be implementing the project with service providers. KPMG – the Independent Verification Agency, and key implementing agencies (listed below) under the Ministry.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL