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751 Out-of-school learners in Afram Plains integrated into formal school

The Afram Plains Development Organisation (APDO) is implementing an intervention to integrate over 1,000 out-of-school children in the Kwahu Afram Plains North District in the Eastern Region into formal education.

Known as the Complemented Basic Education (CBE), the programme targets out-of-school children to enable them to catch up in learning how to read, write and do basic arithmetic to enrol in formal primary schools.

It is one of 40 initiatives of UNICEF with funding from the Zurich-based philanthropy, the Jacobs Foundation, with the sole aim of promoting education in the district. The two-year intervention programme, which started in June 2022 ended in May 2024 and saw APDO recording significant success, though it is yet to make a final collation of the number of learners scattered in the hard-to-reach islands in the district.

The Kwahu Afram Plains North District has 574 communities, with 207 of them located on the island and can only be accessed via canoes or speedboats, while the remaining 367 communities are inland.

The CBE project, also referred to as the Community of Excellence Project (CEP), was piloted in 34 communities made up of 17 on the islands and the remaining 17 inland. So far, APDO has been able to collate a list of 751 learners, representing about 63 per cent of all identified out-of-school children in the district as of May 30, 2024, successfully integrated into various basic schools.

While most of the children are integrated into Primary One, a significant number of them, who are exceptional, found themselves in Primary Two and Three. The APDO was given a maximum target of 70 per cent of learners to be integrated into formal school and as the programme came to a close last Friday, the organisation believes it would exceed the 70 per cent target.

Assessment
A visit by a team from UNICEF Ghana and APDO to Teacherkope and Sihu-Norfegali, where the intervention has been taking place, revealed enthusiastic children striving to learn. The Programme Director of APDO Nuhu Umar, briefing the Daily Graphic at Sihu-Norfegali, one of the fishing communities in the district, explained that the organisation had yet to collate the whole list because of the nature of the district.

“Most of the learners are in the various islands and it is not easy to access those areas. “For us as an organisation, we do not want to collect figures via phone, we want to be there, see the learners and be satisfied that indeed, the figures given are correct,” Mr Umar explained.

He was confident that by Friday, June 7, 2024, the deadline for the submission of the report would be met. Mr Umar explained that the number integrated would have been more, but that some parents wanted their children to integrate next term, which would be the beginning of a new academic year.

He was, however, worried about the future of the learners after the integration, explaining that most of them came from communities without a school and so had to be integrated into the nearest school.

He cited, for instance, that learners at the Teacherkope had to trek for three to four kilometres to the nearest community with a basic school.

graphic

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