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Regional News of Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Source: GNA

Minister solicits funding to improve education

Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, Northern Regional Minister, has urged donor agencies, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to support on-going efforts by the Northern Regional Education Sector Working Group, to improve education in the region.

He explained that the establishment of the group, made up of state institutions and civil society organisations, was one of the measures instituted to ensure a coordinated and sustained effort to tackling challenges facing education in the region.

Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru made the call on Monday when the group presented a report to him, outlining its activities since its establishment through the combined efforts of the minister and organisations that make up the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Alliance.

He commended IBIS, School for Life, the Northern Network for Education (NNED), USAID, ActionAid and other development partners, for championing the work of the working group, and urged other development partners to come on board to sustain the efforts of the group

He observed that poor supervision was one of the challenges to education in the region, and tasked Assemblies to procure more motorbikes to support monitoring and supervision in their various districts.

Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru said he had tasked the Assemblies to implement by-laws to address waywardness among school children, particularly the phenomenon where children roamed the neighbourhoods at night, and converged at various ceremonies to dance.

The education working group, which has now become a standing committee, was inaugurated in August, 2014 to follow up on recommendations made during the Northern Regional Education Forum, held in April that year, to ensure that each district translated its commitments into action.

Alhaji Issah Abah, the Chairman of the group, disclosed that it embarked on monitoring visits to the Savelugu-Nanton and the Yendi Municipalities, as well as the East Gonja District Assembly, during which members observed that efforts were being made to improve teaching and learning.

He said some districts had allocated more resources for monitoring and supervision of schools, and were also setting up new Junior High Schools, to reduce overcrowding and to create opportunities for more children to be enrolled.

He said such measures had helped to reduce teacher-absenteeism, and improved BECE performance in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality, from 9.6 per cent in the 2012/2013 academic year to 28.3 per cent in the 2013/2014 academic year.

Alhaji Abah said the education group was also confronting the issue of low contact hours in English and Arabic Schools, which had been identified as a major contributory factor to poor performance in Islamic schools.

He recommended that the GES and district assemblies should bring all Islamic clerics together to discuss and identify strategies for increasing contact hours in E/A schools and to harmoniously integrate Arabic/Koranic teaching and learning into the formal school system.