Support Education for Street Children in Ghana

by Special Attention Project (SAP)
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana
Support Education for Street Children in Ghana

A new survey conducted by Special Attention Project (SAP) shows that a significant number of school children are not learning, which involves studying to acquire literacy and numeracy skills.

The survey was conducted to assess learning opportunities for school children from low-income families during the COVID-19-driven school closure period.

Seventy-one parents and caregivers whose children attend low-fee community schools in urban areas participated in the survey.

The schools were randomly selected from Nima, Maamobi, Laterbiokorshie, Glefe, Sukura, Samrama Line, High Street, Akoto Lante, Dodowa, Ofankor, Gbegbese, La-Maami, Nungua, Asofan, and Kasoa in the Greater Accra and Central Regions of Ghana.

Out of the total number, 23 parents, representing 33% indicated that their children are not doing any academic work at all. The children mostly play with their friends and assist with household chores on a daily basis.

Reasons cited for why the children are missing out on education included parents’ inability to read and write; lack of learning support from schools attended by children; lack of knowledge and unavailability of computers and android devices to access and use online educational resources.

Other reasons included parents’ inability to guide their children to learn from educational programmes on television; as well as work overload due to decreased income as a result of the pandemic.

Thirty of the children, representing 42% receive learning support from their parents and other family members through unstructured, ‘home-made’ learning instructions.

The remaining 18 children, representing 25% receive learning support from their parents and family members under the guidance and supervision of teachers and schools the children attend.

This support is provided by teachers and schools through the WhatsApp platform and door-to-door delivery of homework lessons to children on a weekly and monthly basis.

The survey also found out that eight parents, representing 6% made use of various educational programmes on television, while only one parent, representing 0.7% made use of online learning resources.

In line with the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19, the parents were asked whether they would face any challenge(s) sending their children to school when school resumes.

Out of the total number, the majority of them, 37 representing 52% said they would face no challenges and were willing to enroll their children as soon as the government announces the reopening of schools.

Eighteen parents, representing 25% indicated they would face no challenge sending their children back to school. But they would only do so when they were convinced that the coronavirus had drastically subsided and posed no threat to their children.

Fourteen of the parents, representing 20% stated that they could not immediately enroll their children when school resumes due to their current financial conditions.

Two parents, representing 3% said they could not enroll their children at all when school reopens because they were not in the position to take care of their children’s education due to the loss of jobs.

Asked about their willingness to support their children’s education, all parents roundly expressed that they were prepared to get extra learning support for their children to learn and remain in school provided the support was given free of charge.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Project Director of SAP, Mr. Richard O. Opoku said his organisation was deeply concerned about the number of children missing out on education during this COVID-19 era.

“The statistics present a stark picture because what this means is that COVID-19 is further widening the exiting educational gap between vulnerable children and children from wealthy homes.

“If we fail to roll out any remedial learning intervention for children who are missing out on education now, the children risk being left behind or dropping out of school. This could lead to a sudden spike in vagrancy and social vices,” Mr. Opoku warned.

He commended the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service for the introduction of the educational programme on television and radio.

Mr. Opoku however, highlighted that a significant section of the population was still not benefitting from television and radio educational programmes because of disparities in television and radio ownership.

“Many parents are also unable to explain lessons on TV and radio educational programmes which are largely non-interactive and involve one-way communication,” Mr. Opoku added.

He said his organisation was currently looking for partners to implement an educational programme that aligns with the learning needs of these vulnerable children losing out on education.

SAP's Project Director
SAP's Project Director

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This morning, the children all arrived early at the centre. It was raining lightly, which means there is less activity in the market and less work to do. Most children carry loads on their heads or run errands for traders to earn some money. After that, they either walk to SAP or take the bus when they can afford it.

At SAP, the first thing they have to do is to take a bath and to wash their clothes. After that, they receive their breakfast. Today, one of the boys tried to be smart and did 'wash and wear': he put on a shirt that he had just washed, because yesterday he didn't do so. As we are training the children to think ahead, this was of course not accepted, and he had to wait for his breakfast for a while...

After breakfast, the children come to the classroom and spend the rest of the morning with their teachers. They all work individually, and do every day some reading, some writing exercises and some mathematics. It is wonderful to see how noisy and hyperactive children calm down as soon as they are given a task they like and which falls within their abilities. Sometimes, the whole class is quiet! But anything can stir up things, and one disturbance often causes a chain reaction!

Most children are now learning the letters and reading small words. We use the phonics method, but blending sounds into words remains difficult. Mathematics is somehow easier, as long as it is the 'automatic' tasks of addition and subtraction. Beyond that, a lot of children also get stuck.

Around noon, the children eat their hot meal. They learn also to eat in a clean environment, and to take care of their eating utensils. The rest of the afternoon is mostly spend on games or watching a film. A lot of children take a nap, to make up for the lack of sleep during the night on the streets. After 3PM, they start preparing to leave, and the centre closes for the day.

The average age of the present group is 13 to 14 years. Most children have spend several years on their own in the streets, and for some this is their first positive experience with education.

However, after learning for some months, most children become restless again, and want to move on into employment to make money. But, due to their learning problems, their general skills level is often too low to be able to go into job training. We need an in-between solution, which allows children more time to develop and to gain more skills and stability. That's why we want to add practicals to the programme, so that there is more variety and more than only academic learning.

The idea is to design learning assignments in various professional fields, so that children can try their hands on different practical skills. For example: they can practise cutting wood, or learn how to boil and egg. In the proces, they have to measure, to keep track of time and to manage the materials they are working with. For this purpose, we need more materials and have to re-design the learning environment.

We hope you will support us to realise our plans, and to give these children a second chance in life!

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Organization Information

Special Attention Project (SAP)

Location: Accra North - Ghana
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SAPGhana
Project Leader:
Margaretha Ubels
Accra, Ghana

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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