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Ghana has made giant strides in extending basic education in numeracy and literacy over the past decade to the vast majority of the population. But many poor children (particularly girls) and those in rural areas are still left out, with around 650,000 children currently out-of-school. Recognising this, the Ghana government has prioritised the roll out of education for excluded children – known as complementary basic education (CBE). Over a period of just nine months, children aged 8-14 who are not in school are taught basic literacy, numeracy and life skills in their mother tongue using accelerated literacy strategies contextualised to their community. They are then ready to join primary school for the first time.
To accelerate progress, DFID has contracted us to manage the grants for the roll out of a coherent, standardised CBE programme for 120,000 out-of-school children based on best practices in the education sector. We will disburse around £8 to 10 million worth of grants to local partners to deliver CBE to children in the most remote and hard to reach areas of the country. Because relatively low numbers of girls access education and girls face significant socio-cultural barriers to education in some areas, there will be a special focus on reaching girls.
The project will also strengthen the evidence base on CBE and out-of-school children, refine CBE into a more standardised approach and build the long-term capacity of the Ghana Education Service to deliver CBE.
We’ll work closely with Ghana’s Education Service throughout the programme in order to develop the policy, implementation, procurement and budgetary framework for CBE. When the project ends in 2015, the Ghana government and its partners will be in a strong position to run the CBE programme effectively.
CBE has been delivered by NGO’s in Ghana, funded by donor agencies. DFID and UNICEF have been key players through its support for School for Life, an NGO that has achieved remarkable results with CBE. School for Life has been operational in northern Ghana since 1995 and has helped over 140,000 children attain basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Since 2008, DFID has given 12,000 out-of-school children literacy and numeracy skills; 80 per cent of these have joined the formal school system and 480 teachers are now trained to use the programme’s innovative pedagogy. The new project will build on this success to coordinate a nationwide programming.
As Ghana works towards the UN Millennium Development Goals set for 2015, the roll out of this CBE programme will help move the country closer to meeting MDG 2 (universal primary education) and MDG 3 (gender equality). It will also provide a model for other African Countries to emulate in order to reach the last 5-10% of out of school children.