PRESS STATEMENT, MAY 22, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GOVT. MUST ACT NOW TO GET STUDENTS IN NORTHERN SCHOOLS BACK IN THE CLASSROOM The past few months have been characterized by agitations and protests over the delay in the release of feeding grants for Senior High Secondary boarding schools in the three northern regions i.e. Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions for the second and third terms of the 2007/8 academic year. Our information is that, 37 senior high secondary schools in the Upper East and Northern Region with a total of 32,824 students in boarding facilities are affected, and are currently at home. An estimated 13,000 more in 12 Senior High Secondary Schools with boarding facilities in Upper West Region are also affected.
Re-opening of the senior high boarding schools in the three regions has had to be postponed indefinitely. The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) finds it disconcerting, that delays in releasing funds for the affected regions have in the past few years become routine, a situation which raises concerns about government’s commitment to bridging the North-South education divide, and to the education sector as a whole, which has been identified in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II as key in the production of the requisite human capital in reaching middle income status by 2015. Under the circumstance, the Ghana Education Service may find it difficult to achieve parity between students in the northern sector and those in other regions so they can all write the same SSCE exams or to even achieve its objective of increasing access to secondary education.
Even though the Scholarships Secretariat has given assurances that they are doing their best to disburse the Northern Scholarships as soon as possible, such assurances cannot restore the lost opportunity and time for teaching and learning to the affected students. ISODEC has reason to believe that the Government is not treating the situation with the urgency it deserves, and calls for immediate action to arrest the situation. It is important to look beyond the current crisis to identify the root cause of the problem and to institute measures to forestall its re-occurrence. ISODEC wishes to state emphatically that education is a fundamental right for all people, women and men, of all ages and that the delay or refusal of the state to honour its obligations to the northern Ghana schools constitute a denial of this right to the affected students.
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