An educationist, Dr Leslie Casely-Hayford has suggested to the government of Ghana to allocate at least 5-10% of government budget, that is, one million dollars per constituency for the implementation of Complementary Basic Education (CBE ) policy which focuses on enrolling children who are out of school.
The educationist suggestions follow fears by stakeholders in education about the fate of CBE when the main donors - the Department for International Development (DFID), a United Kingdom government department responsible for administering overseas aid and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) cease funding the program next year.
Sustainability of the CBE policy has been a major concern for stakeholders since the government of Ghana accepted the policy with some commitments. The Ghana education strategic plans 2003-2015 and 2010-2020 acknowledge the contribution of CBE in the education sector.
The funding is expected to end in 2018 raising serious sustainability issues and the fate of thousands of out of school children.
Presenting the CBE policy to the CBE Alliance at a day’s policy review framework in Tamale, Senior Education Adviser for CBE, Dr Leslie Casely-Hayford said there are still areas in Ghana without schools and alternatives should be provided for underprivileged.
Many districts in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions still have pockets of communities with formal education system and children in those areas only attend CBE literacy classes, Dr Leslie stated.
She also called on the private sector through their social responsibility policies to support development programs like literacy of children because that's the first step for any industrialized countries such as Malaysia, Singapore,Sri Lanka and China.
The youth population have to become literate in order to become productive, she observed Dr Leslie. The policy implementation in countries such as Indian, Bangladesh have been led by state actors. In Ghana, state actors are still considering it.
Explaining the rational behind the review framework, the CBE senior education adviser said the implementers of the policy have learned some lessons because in the last five years of the implementation it was government led.
Citing Bangladesh as an example, Dr Casely-Hayford said the country struggled in similar CBE programs about 30 years ago, and it helped children to read and write.
She told participants that about 60% of children in Senegal are still out of school and so the phenomenon is not peculiar to only Ghana. They attends Arabic schools, but the deficits still exist, Dr Leslie added.
Divided Opinion on minority tribes
Opinions were divided when the issue of minority tribes and predominant languages crop out. While some augured that using predominant language for example Dagbani in a Mamprusi community will disadvantage the children, the other view is that any other shift from it will cripple the policy.
The justification was that implementation will be difficult and the purpose of the policy may be defeated if predominant language are used in communities that do not speak that language, an educationist with school for Life Alhaji Abdul Karim asserted.
In the CBE policy, majority tribes have been prioritized, but some educationist wants the minority tribes to be given attention.
But, Dr Leslie said "I am from Canada and our educational system is bilingual and in Ghana there is a real challenge because people don't understand it's impact in the upbringing of children."
CBE Alliance expectations from community members
The Programs Manager at School for Life, Alhaji S.O. Saaka said the the alliance expect support in the area of encouraging children out of school especially where some families give priorities to male children to the detriment of females.
Communities are also expected to help CBE facilitators who he said are volunteers.
Even though there is some incentives for them, they can be assisted on their farms as a way of encouragement.