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General News of Sunday, 10 December 2017

Source: 3news.com

FEATURE: How bicycles have made schooling easy in Nabango

25 per cent of children in basic schools commute between 2-5 kilometers daily to school

About 60 per cent of school children in the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region have benefited from a World Vision International donation of bicycles as their schools are between three to six kilometers from their homes.

A baseline survey conducted by the non-governmental organization in 2013 indicated that about 25 per cent of children in basic schools commute between 2-5 kilometers daily to school.

The implication is that many children of school-going age in rural and hard-to-reach areas, who cannot commute for such long distance, drop out of school, and those who make it to school, arrive late and tired to do meaningful academic work. The effect of all these is poor learning outcomes among children.

But the situation has changed for many of these children as a result of the donation.

Recently another set of 800 bicycles was donated by World Vision International. The Upper East Region Operations Manager of World Vision, Timothy Amang-bey Akanpadai, thanked partner organisation World Bicycle Relief for partnering with them in this project.

He sent a word of caution to parents whose children are benefiting from the gesture not to take the bicycles to farms. The Director of Operations of World Bicycle Relief said the project is to empower school children, who commute long distances to school in the Kassena Nankana West District, to have quality education.

He said the bicycles were manufactured for Africa and can withstand any harsh condition.

The District Director of Education, Adiza Musah, in an exclusive interview, said within a short period, the bicycles have increased academic performance of school children in the district and, so, she called for more.

Some beneficiaries in the district shared their experiences and expressed optimism of a brighter future as far as education is concerned.

Before they were given the bicycles, Maxwell Nyaba and Aduko Mary were notorious absentees to school due to the 5 and 4 kilometers distances they travel often from home to school. Their schools are now closer to their houses with the help of the bicycles.

A Nabango Junior High School student, Agubah Christabel, 14, a beneficiary of the Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme can now make her six kilometers journey to school on bicycle in just about 25 to 30 minutes.

She is among 3,800 basic school pupils who are benefiting from the bicycle project, having trekked for about six kilometers from home to school daily since primary school level.

A surprise visit to Agubah Christabel in her school during closing hours to accompany her home in an effort to experience her daily journey to school disclosed how easy it has become for her to travel to and from school.