The understanding and practice of children’s rights is an important element in Tthe preparation of all young people for living in a democratic society that
values diversity and is committed equality and social justice.
Such understanding and practice are developed at an early age in learning the basic facts about rights and through acquiring the needed skills to translate this information into action, skills such as decision making ,value clarification and negotiations. Such learning is reinforced through the very nature of the surrounding environment itself.
An appropriate climate is an essential complement to effective learning about and through rights, where it is not only enough to focus upon knowledge and information gathering about right, but where it is just as important, that children are given the opportunity to develop and practice skills necessary for the defense and promotion of their own and other peoples right.
It follows that children’s rights are best learned in democratic settings where participation is encouraged, where views can be expressed openly and discussed, and where there is fairness and justice.
Schools in principle provides a structural learning environment for many children particularly at primary levels, and offer a good opportunity to focus on changing knowledge , skills and attitudes of children.
They are cost-effective way of reaching children while securing wide coverage and sustainability through the already available infrastructure of the education sector itself. Schools constitute a resource in the community by having an impact on the habit of its members, where children can play the role of change agent within their families and communities in relation to rights and can become good partners for information propagation.
In Lebanon democratic values such as respect for the dignity and freedom of the individual, responsibility, tolerance, equality of opportunity and justice need reaffirming in a country that has witnessed long years of war. These violent years has caused confusion in the minds of the Lebanese people whether old or young and have shattered their sense of value judgement and principles. Now with the resumption of peace and tranquility, Lebanon is taking positive steps towards improvements and reconstruction efforts towards rebuilding are advancing swiftly.
Yet Lebanon is facing the challenge of human development in a peaceful climate. Among its task is preparing its present diverse and young generation to function effectively and productively in developing their future whether nationally, regionally or globally.
Ghana is a country in Africa, along the Gulf of Guinea, just a few degrees north of the equator. Wikimedia Atlas of Ghana
Ghana encompasses plains, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, Dodi Island and Bobowasi Island on the South Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana. Ghana can be divided into four different geographical Eco regions; the coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of Ghana features high plains.
South-west and south-central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau; the hilly Akwapim-Togo ranges are found along Ghana’s eastern international border.
The Volta Basin takes up most of south-central Ghana and Ghana’s highest point is Mount Afadja which is 885 m (2,904 ft.) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo ranges. The climate is tropical and the eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the south-west corner of Ghana is hot and humid, and the north of Ghana is hot and dry. Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of south-eastern Ghana and many tributary rivers such as the Oti and Afram rivers flow into it.
The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part of Ghana is Cape three points near Axim. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N. South Ghana contains evergreen and semi-deciduous forests consisting of trees such as mahogany, odum, ebony and it also contains much of Ghana’s oil palms and mangroves with Shea trees, baobabs and acacias found in the northern part of Ghana.
Ghana, which lies in the center of the Gulf of Guinea coast, 2,420 km of land borders with three countries: Burkina Faso (602 km) to the north, Ivory Coast (720 km) to the west, and Togo (1,098 km) to the east. To the south are the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
In Absolute terms:
Its southernmost coast at Cape Three Points is 4° 30′ north of the equator. From here, the country extends inland for some 670 kilometers to about 11° north. The distance across the widest part, between longitude 1° 12′ east and longitude 3° 15′ west, measures about 560 kilometers.
The Greenwich Meridian, which passes through London, also traverses the eastern part of Ghana at Tema. With a total area of 239,460 square kilometers, Ghana is about the size of the United Kingdom.
Ghana’s spending on education has been around 25% of its annual budget in the past decade. The Ghanaian education system from Kindergarten up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years. The ratio of females to males in the total education system was 96.38% in 2011. The adult literacy rate in Ghana was 71.5% in 2010, with males at 78.3% and females at 65.3%.The youth female and male ages 15–24 years literacy rate in Ghana was 81% in 2010, with males at 82%,and females at 80%.
Since 2008, enrollment has continually increased at all level of education (pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education). With 84% of its children in primary school, Ghana has a school enrollment “far ahead” of its sub-Saharan neighbor’s. The number of infrastructures has increased consequently on the same period.] Vocational Education (in “TVET institutes”, not-including SHS vocational and technical programs) is the only exception, with an enrollment decrease of 1,3% and the disappearance of more than 50 institutions between the years 2011/12 and 2012/2013. This drop would be the result of the low prestige of Vocational Education and the lack of demand from industry.
Ministry of Education statistics showed 261,962 tertiary students during the 2011/2012 school year: 202,063 in the public sector and 59,899 in the private sector, attending 142 institutions.
In 2011, the primary school net enrolment rate was 84%, a figure described by UNICEF as “far ahead” of the Sub-Saharan average. In its 2013-14 report, the World Economic Forum ranked Ghana 46th out of 148 countries regarding the education system quality
The Ghanaian education system is divided in three parts: “Basic Education”, Tsecondary cycle and tertiary Education. “Basic Education” lasts 11 years (Age 4-15), is free and compulsory.
It is divided into Kindergarten (2 years), primary school (2 modules of 3 years) and Junior High school (3 years). The junior high school (JHS) ends on the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Once the BECE achieved, the pupil can pursue into secondary cycle. Secondary cycle can be either general (assumed by Senior High School) or vocational (assumed by technical Senior High School, Technical and vocational Institutes and a massive private and informal offer). Senior High school lasts three years and ends on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Other secondary institution leads to various certifications and diplomas. Tertiary education is basically divided into university (academic education) and Polytechnics (vocational education). The WASSCE is needed to join a university bachelor’s degree program. A bachelor’s degree lasts 4 years and can be followed by a 1 or 2 year Master.
The student is then free to start a PhD, usually completed in 3 years. Polytechnics are opened to vocational students, from SHS or from TVI. A Polytechnic curriculum lasts 2 to 3 years. Ghana also possesses numerous colleges of education. New tertiary education graduates have to serve one year within the National Service Scheme. The Ghanaian education system from Kindergarten up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years. The academic year usually goes from August to May inclusive. The school year lasts 40 weeks in Primary school and SHS, and 45 weeks in JHS
SHILOH GOSHEN is an NGO which has seen education to be the basic foundation of every country but the need for the masses to get good and quality education has been a major challenge facing the people of Ghana. Access to education has also been a bane facing the people of the rural areas.
Just as the physical and social development of the average child is beset with many problems, so the development of education in any given society is hampered by a variety of problems, some of which are associated with the responsibility for and control of the society’s education, the diversification of the educational system, the need to relate the schools’ curricula to national man-power needs, and the society’s economy.
All these problems are retarding the pace of educational development in Ghana today. Because of the need for schools and colleges to meet the requirements of certain examining bodies, Ghana educational institutions, particularly at the pre-tertiary level have to change their syllabuses from time to time Even when the national subject curricula are constant for some years, the school subject syllabuses are subject to change or modification by teachers, particularly where subject teachers are changed frequently. This is particularly the case with rural schools where teachers frequently ask for transfer to urban primary or secondary schools. In effect, rural schools are usually filled with itinerant teachers: Youth-Coopers, fresh graduates on national service or other categories of newly-employed teachers who have no other option. The tendency for these categories of teachers is usually to modify the syllabus to embody their newly acquired knowledge.
Teaching staff In Ghanaian primary and secondary schools today, the problem is no longer that of unavailability, but that of instability. This does not help the development of the education system. Because of the comparatively poorer conditions of service of teachers In the Ghanaian society, the tendency for many teachers in the nation’s schools today, as was the case with their predecessors in late colonial and independent Ghana, Is to use the teaching profession as a stepping stone to other highly esteemed and more attractive jobs.
In consequence, teaching is gradually becoming a profession for fresh graduates of Universities and Colleges of education who are ready to call it quit, without provocation, as soon as they find greener pastures elsewhere.
From time to time, therefore, the teaching staff In Ghana educational Institutions is usually unstable. Consequently, the teaching-learning process in stalled everywhere. Unless the conditions of service of teachers, at all levels, are Improved and their status raised higher in the Ghanaian society, the teaching staff of our educational institutions, including the universities, shall continue to be unstable and educational progress shall continue to be retarded; but this must not be so for a country that is virtually ready to take a plunge into a world of science and technology!
So as NGO we sort to seek help from cooperate bodies and institutions, opinion leaders and big wigs in the society to help raise funds to reach out to other people in the deprived areas so they can have access to this social amenities. You cannot blame those kids for being poor or being neglected in the society because not all of us were fortunate enough to have rich parents to cater for us.
Our plea is to reach out to you to help us through any means to eradicate illiteracy out of our country, once those boys and girls are properly educated our streets will be free of child labour, prostitution, social vices and unwarranted teenage pregnancy. It is our cooperate and moral responsibility to cater for the less privileged, the poor and the needy, we can’t do this without you because we must be each other’s keeper by way of soliciting funds to help them enroll in school for the betterment of their future and Ghana as a whole.
In order to remove some of the major problems of educational development in Ghana, the issue of responsibility and control must be resolved and a uniform system of education introduced and operated nation-wide.
This would mean the abolition of the present school system whereby children of the privileged class attend special schools. Further, special concession should be granted to Ghanaian educational institutions to import books, stationery and other educational equipment, duty-free. Also, Ghanaian publishers and printing industries should be allowed to Import newsprint and other materials needed for book production without paying any import duties. The cost of books would thus be reduced. All schools should be provided with adequate equipment and facilities for teaching and learning.
Additionally, frequent changes of subject syllabuses should be discouraged while teachers of all categories should be encouraged to remain in the same school for many years so that a tradition of teaching and learning could be established in each school.
The Ghanaian State has dedicated 23% of its expenditure into education in 2010. More than 90% of this budget is spent by the Ministry of Education and its agencies: Primary education (31% of the expenditure) and tertiary education (21,6%) are the most provided.
The expenditures are partly funded by donors. Among them can be found the World Bank, the United States (through the USAID), the United Kingdom (through the DfID) and the European Union. Their participation is usually project-focused and granted under certain condition, giving them a certain influence.
This influence can provoke debates when it comes to key-reforms: For the FCUBE project, the World Bank imposed book charges in primary schools and reduced feeding and boarding costs in secondary schools.
Facing criticisms, the Bank insisted on the “strong domestic ownership” of the reform and the necessity to ensure “cost recovery”. Between 2005 and 2012, the part of donors in the Ghanaian budget has fallen from 8.5 to 2.5% of the total education expenditure.
Since independence, various governments have implemented policies to make education accessible to almost every Ghanaian of school going age. Indeed, the 1992 Constitution explicitly stated “that basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all; secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education; higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education”.
Despite this constitutional provision, it is still very clear that not all communities in Ghana have access to education (well-furnished educational facility). In some situations, pupils have to walk several miles in order to attend school. This becomes even more difficult and virtually impossible during raining seasons as roads become inaccessible. These challenges have therefore hindered access to education in most communities and villages especially those located outside the major cities within the country.
Perhaps the poor nature of facilities within the educational sector cannot be ignored when discussing the major challenges confronting education in Ghana. This problem exists in virtually every sector / level of Ghana’s educational sector from primary education to tertiary.
Dilapidated buildings are sometimes used as classrooms in certain communities and instead of serving as medium to acquiring knowledge; these buildings rather become a death trap which scare pupils and the teachers away from school. Due to the safety threat of most of these buildings, some parents prefer to keep their wards at home rather than send them to school.
Also, due to the various policies implemented which sought to increase school enrollment, some schools especially those located at the country side have more student population than the existing classrooms can accommodate and this results in overcrowding during class hours. At the tertiary level, It is not uncommon to come across crowded lecture theater with thousands of students and some who don’t even have chairs to sit on.
In 1788, while writing on the need for proper checks and balances, James Madison indicated that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary”. This clearly means that people will try to do all things possible to bend down rules unless they are effectively supervised and punished.
It is very common to observe that in certain parts of the country, teachers who are paid to teach students leave their jobs to attend to their own private businesses while the Students are left to their own fate. Perhaps this could have been checked if there were a more effective way of monitoring the performance of teachers and whether they are present in school.
Although most districts are assigned circuit supervisors, a lack of proper mode of communication meant that they could not effectively monitor the progress in the various areas they are assigned to.
Most times, these supervisors walk several miles across the district in between schools in order to effectively supervise the performance of teachers. Because these supervisors are unable to visit every school, some teachers take advantage to use working periods for their personal businesses.
In 2011, while on attachment at the South Tongu district of the National Commission for Civic Education, I had an interesting encounter with one of the teachers in the district. It was on a normal afternoon and we went to one of the schools within the district to educate students on their constitutional rights.
In the course of the program, I had an interaction with the Social Studies teacher at the JHS. To my dismay, he has never seen a copy of the constitution of Ghana and his English language skills were not up to standard. Ever since I met this gentleman, I kept wondering how he manages to teach the pupils. Interestingly, there are several teachers across the country who are not qualified to be teaching.
The Ghana Education Service has in recent times uncovered a number of teachers who were employed based on forged certificates, one can only imagine the damage these teachers are causing to pupils who are supposed to be the future of this country
While the previous governments over the years have performed very well in bringing one reform or the other to the education sector, the reality is that
much still need to be done.
The government must as a matter of urgency ensure that virtually every community in the country has an education system at least to the basic level. This will ensure that almost every child of school going age will have to good quality education. The Ministry of Education must also institute enough incentive mechanisms to encourage people especially the youth into the education sector and reduce the incessant industrial action that has plagued the sector in recent times. Supervision of teachers must be intensified to ensure that teachers recruited to teach are rendering their service to the nation.
There are so many lapses in our educational sector and SHILOH-GOSHEN as an NGO has thought it through to reach out to solicit funds to bridge up the gap between the less privileged and the privileged.
This task is not an easy task and we have been visiting other deprived villages to supply them with learning materials and the enormity of the problem on the floor is just way too much for us to bare thereby so doing we want to appeal to the public, cooperate bodies opinion leaders and the big wigs in the society to help us win the fight against illiteracy and poor educational canker in the rural areas and even part of the urban areas too.
It is your social responsibility, it is my social responsibility, it is our social responsibility to make Ghana a better place for our unborn generations and that can only be achieved if we help bridge this gap with the little we have to help that poor innocent child, that poor orphan who has nobody but you and i to count on and the little we could do for them is to educate them to have a better future.
NB– If we fail to help them, they are the same people that grow up to rob us, rape our wives and daughters and even take our lives in the act of stealing from us
The total anticipated amount required for the financing of this project amounts to Ghana Cedis. This amount will be met through sponsorships and donations. SHILOH GOSHEN as NGO we based our budget on the teaching and learning material, feeding and provided structure for learning comfort, providing school uniforms and portable water that can be accessed in the deprived areas to enhance education.
The budget takes care of the following areas;
Ø Structures for learning comfort