The Ghana Complimentary Basic Education Programme (CBE) had been launched at Atampiisi in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.
The programme, which is a special initiative of the government, is expected to help enroll the estimated number of 20,441 children who are not in school in the Upper East Region into the formal educational sector.
It is being supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and would be implemented for three years. The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations are implementing the programme.
Afrikids Ghana, a child rights non-governmental organization, is supporting the Bongo District Directorate of Education to implement the programme in the District and 750 children within the ages of 8 to 14 in the District are attending afternoon classes to be reintegrated into the formal education.
Speaking at the launch the District Director of Education, Mr Emmanuel Zumakpeh, said for the Upper East Region, particularly the Bongo District, the programme would have not come at more opportune time than this.
He said despite the numerous interventions by government, NGOs, and development partners and other stakeholders to provide among others free school uniforms, free exercise books, free lat tops, School Feeding Programme, scholarships, it is estimated that about nearly 400,000 pupils aged 6 years and above in the Region have never been to school.
He said the number represented about 46 per cent of the population of children of 6 years and above in the Region leaving some other age brackets who are of school going age but are not in school.
He said statistics showed that above 40 per cent of children who start schooling drop out before reaching primary six. The group mostly adversely affected in all of this is the girl-child, accounting for about 59 per cent of children of school going age and above who have never been to school.
Mr Zumakpeh said it was to help address the challenges that the government of Ghana, in collaboration with the DFID, developed the CBE Programme to help address the education gap in the north particularly that of the Upper East Region.
He said after the nine months intensive teaching and learning in functional literacy programme provided by the facilitators, the transit learners would be reintegrated into the formal educational sector.
The Afrikids Ghana Country Director , Mr Nicholas Kumah, said education and proper upbringing of children to become responsible future leaders was among the cardinal principle of his outfit and pledged that Afrikids Ghana would do all it could to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
He said the required teaching and learning materials for the classes had been provided for both learners and facilitators and plans also far advanced to motivate the facilitators by proving them with bicycles, paying their National Health Insurance premiums and as well give them some allowances.
The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Aleeyaarum who chaired the function, commended the government for the special initiative and appealed to parents to take advantage of it and send all their children of school going age to school. GNA