Although the situation in Gushegu district is slowly improving, a lot can still be improved in the area of education. High drop-out rates, especially for girls, and a lack of capacity, resources and well-trained, motivated teachers, are just some of the challenges the district faces. Project Share set up Neesim Primary School in December 2009 to meet the needs of three local villages and to be a model school in the district. Then in September 2015 we started Neesim Junior High School with our first class. Once the school is fully established we hope to reach out to other schools to help them to improve the quality of education they provide. Read more about Neesim School here.
The Gushegu District is behind in its development compared to most other regions of Ghana and education has suffered. Roughly half of all children of primary school age go to school, while only 15% of boys and 2.5% of girls make it as far as Secondary School. Many children don’t even finish primary school and of those who do, probably as many as 80% cannot read well enough to understand their lessons. The drop-out rate is particularly high for girls, often due to pregnancy or the need to earn an income to support the family. For years, the exam results of the Senior Secondary School were the worst in the country.
Though more and more villages are getting schools, there are still not enough to host all the children who should be in school. But then, there are also too few teachers. Many schools in small villages may have two or three teachers for a whole primary school, and classes are often too full, some with as many as 75 to 100 pupils in a class. Teachers often lack enough resources or motivation to offer quality teaching and supervision is also a contributing factor.
For the poorest people, education can be inaccessible. On paper, Ghana has free universal basic education, but the number of state-owned schools cannot provide for all children of school going age. In addition, although these schools charge no school fees, the parents are still expected to buy school books and stationery for their child. Furthermore, many new schools are set-up under trees and lack even basic facilities. Others only have rudimentary structures with just a roof and no walls, with several classes sharing the same structure.
We believe that the poor results achieved in senior school stem back to poor education in the early years, meaning that children never get a good foundation in reading and maths. When children fail to achieve good results which can take them on to higher education or jobs, families fail to see the importance or positive effect of education. This then impacts the number of children they send to school. Furthermore, poor high school results are leaving a generation of young men and women in Ghana with very few opportunities to make a living.
This also influences the quality of teachers. When they themselves had a poor education and lack a good understanding of the foundations it is difficult for them to teach their pupils any differently, hence the cycle of poor education continues.
Our aims are…
… to see more children going to school, particularly girls;
… to see fewer children dropping out of school;
… to see the quality of education offered in the districts improved, in its broadest sense;
… to see the results for Senior High School exams improve as a result of improved quality education;
… to see more trained teachers throughout the districts;
… to see increased adult literacy in the districts;
… to see an indirect and subtle effect on the general living conditions as a result of increased education and literacy levels.
What do we do?
- We have set up a school (including kindergarten, primary and junior high) to provide for three local villages and to be a model for quality education in the district. The school started in December 2009. You can find out more about the school here.
- We employ high school leavers and train them to be quality teachers, through distance learning courses and in-service training.
- In time, we intend to use the school as a platform from which to impact others schools in the district concerning the quality of education and improvement of the learning environment, through training and practical help.
Did you know that in the Gushegu district…
- … 60% of boys and 42% of girls attend primary school?*
- … in secondary education there are only 15% of all boys and 2.5% of girls?*
- … 55% of girls get married before their 18th birthday?*
- … lack of education affects other basic things, such as understanding of balanced nutrition and recognising childhood sicknesses?
- … the only Senior High School in the district has had the worst graduation rate of the country for years?
- … most students struggle with English and maths?
- … most nursery schools focus on teaching children to recite their ABC’s and the national anthem?
- … probably less than 10% of adults knows how to read, either English or Dagbani?
- … though there are a couple of NGOs stimulating adult literacy and co-ordinating literacy classes in the Tamale and Yendi areas, there is hardly any literacy work going on in the Gushegu district?
* Source: Unicef, High Impact Rapid Delivery (HIRD) Supplementary Survey 2007, Northern Region Preliminary Report