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Regional News of Friday, 29 May 2015

Source: GNA

MasterCard Foundation learning summit opens

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme Annual Learning Summit, opened in Accra on Thursday to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss key issues that would enhance quality education in Ghana.

The Summit, which is the second to be organised by Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) Ghana, was on the theme “Quality Education: What Works?”

It brought together both local and international experts in education, representatives of the Ministry of Education, Parliament, non-governmental organisations, donor partners, scholars of the MasterCard programme, employers, researchers, parents, teachers and education administrators.

The intensive programme would have expert panel discussions on key issues such as the quality of leadership and teaching, parent-teacher associations, curriculum, education financing and education reforms.

Ms Delores Dickson, Executive Director of Camfed Ghana, said the benefits of good quality education is universal and that explains why discussions on quality education continue to engage the attention of stakeholders.

She said although government and stakeholders has not relented on their efforts to ensure quality education at all levels of the educational strata, several factors continue to impede the achievement of the required quality in Sub-Saharan Africa in general, and Ghana in particular.

She said the challenge may partially be attributed to the neglect of the quality aspect of education over the years, and excessively focusing on improving access levels, which has rather tilted the curve, leading to the gradual reversal of the impressive gains in enrolment levels, which is becoming evident in current records of low quality and high drop-out rates.

Ms Dickson said the theme for the summit was carefully chosen to raise awareness on the fact that quality education is a necessary complement to educational success and therefore enhance quantity and quality has to go hand in hand.

According to her the panel discussions would set the tone for further debates at a break-out group sessions, to enable the various groups to among other things, identify the gaps in policy implementations and come out with recommendations for sustainable solutions to mitigate the factors that impedes the achievement of quality education in Ghana.

She gave a background to the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme which is a 10-year partnership between MasterCard Foundation and Camfed, to provide comprehensive support to academically gifted young women in rural communities within Camfed’s four operational areas in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the Central regions.

She said the key objective of the programme is to raise social, political and business leaders for the African continent and also to unlock the potential of a critical mass of academically bright yet disadvantaged girls and young women from rural communities through secondary and tertiary education, enrichment and service leadership opportunities.

Mr Christopher Thornley, Canadian High Commissioner, said he was convinced that the support and collaboration of the MasterCard Foundation would complement government’s effort to ensure quality of education and bring about enlightenment to girls to help solve the issue of early marriages and also curtail the school drop-out rate.

Ms Sharon Bar-li, Israeli Ambassador, expressed satisfaction at the success of a collaborative quality early childhood educational programme with Ghana Education Service.

She acknowledged the importance of early childhood education as the bedrock of quality education and urged the Ministry to scale up the programme to other areas of the country, and also to fully involve the communities, creating a sense of ownership among parents, teachers and policy makers.

She said when teachers are well empowered with the requisite knowledge, tools and technology based on the curriculum, they become more than just disciplinarians, but friendly instructors who would be able to approach early childhood education in a friendly and playful environment for effective results.