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Progress on GoG’s Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme

The UK government with support from the US government have provided 27.9 million to help implement the Complementary Basic Education Programme (CBE).


Enrolling all children into school has been a significant challenge for Ghana since independence. Although Government policies such as the abolition of school fees, introduction of the capitation grant and the provision of free school uniforms have helped to significantly increase primary gross enrolment rates, it has not been possible to enrol some groups of children, who are typically from the poorest rural and hardest to reach areas, and are often kept out of school due to farming and other household tasks.

The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) in collaboration with US Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing support to the Government of Ghana (GoG) to address the Out-of-School Children (OOSC) challenge under the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme. This will support 200,000 OOSC (50% expected to be girls) over the period 2012 – 2018, and build the Government’s capacity to undertake CBE activities after this programme ends. “UK’s development assistance in Ghana has a strong focus on education helping Government to ensure that every Ghanaian child gets access to basic education; and I am pleased to be involved in our joint efforts in achieving this” - Jim McAlpine, DFID Ghana Country Director.

The Minister of Education Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang launched this innovative education programme in October, 2013. Complementary Basic Education is a ground-breaking and accelerated approach that teaches disadvantaged out-of-school children how to read, write and be numerate within a nine-month period so they can eventually enter primary school at class 3 or class 4. The Ministry of Education (MosE) adopted the CBE Policy in December 2014. This programme could pave the way for Ghana to achieve universal primary education by providing the opportunity for children to access education in some of the hard-to-reach and deprived communities. “Our commitment of ensuring that every child in the country receives quality and holistic education is given meaning and strong support by the introduction of the CBE programme” - Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister of Education.

CBE offers a flexible approach that accommodates disadvantaged children (especially girls). Whether a child has never been to school or dropped out of school, CBE’s innovative approach has succeeded in equipping children between the ages 8 to 14 with literacy, numeracy and life skills in less than one year. The teaching and learning package for children has been translated into twelve local languages with classes taught in the afternoon by volunteer senior high school graduates resident in the communities. The success of the programme is attributed largely to community engagement which has proven very successful with over 80% of those who graduate being fully integrated in the formal primary school system.

“We, at USAID/Ghana, are happy to have partnered with the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, and DFID to put in hard work and dedication to make this collaboration come to fruition. As we all know, education in the early grades is directly linked to success later in life. Building strong foundational skills in reading will help children learn to read so that they can read to learn.” – Andy Karas, Acting USAID/Ghana Mission Director.

CBE Achievements (2012-2015) • 79,200 Out-of-School Children had access to CBE classes comprising 41,800 (53%) boys and 37,400 (47%) girls. • Overall completion rate of CBE learners was 92% (92% girls) which exceeded the 80% target. • Over 80% of CBE graduates have been integrated into formal primary school system. • 1,800 community-based facilitators were trained in the CBE methodology of which 286 (16%) were females. • 9,000 members of the School Management Committees (SMCs) (including 5,400 females) are involved in the organisation of the CBE classes in the communities.

Notes to the Editor: 1. The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK government’s fight against world poverty. UKaid is the logo used to demonstrate how the UK government’s development work is improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. 2. DFID is a committed development partner in Ghana. By 2015/16, UK’s development assistance Ghana will support the distribution of 4.75 million mosquito nets, support 140,000 children in basic education and keep 70,000 girls in secondary school, help 30,000 producers to access business services, assist 100,000 of the poorest people through cash transfers, and support 525,000 people with family planning. 3. USAID partners to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. 4. The UK Government and the US Government have provided £27.9 million to help Ghana implement the CBE programme aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education (MDG2).

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Published 26 June 2015