Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Complementary Basic Education

Link Ghana is the implementing partner for Complementary Basic Education in the Upper East Region. The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service are receiving support from the UK Government through its Department for International Development (DFID) to implement the CBE programme to enrol 120,000 out-of-school children by 2015. The Education Strategic Plan 2010-2020 includes functional literacy for out of school children and this is a key pillar of the CBE programme. Overall, the CBE programme seeks to achieve change by improving access, transition, completion and quality of basic education for disadvantaged children, particularly girls, in the project districts.  Link Ghana is applying best practice to tackle underlying causes that prevent children accessing, completing and performing in school, including socio-cultural beliefs, poverty barriers, the school environment and quality of teaching. In the period April 2013 to July 2016, Link is using this project to reach 6,375 children in 225 communities in three districts in the Upper East region of Ghana. Link Ghana is working in close collaboration with the District Assemblies and District Education Offices to carry out the key activities. 

Funder: DFID

Total Funding: £605,625

Date: June 2013– July 2016

The challenge

Educational development in Ghana has been improved significantly in the last decade, particularly in the provision of infrastructure and improving enrolment and retention rates at the basic level, especially for girls. However, there are still far too many children in Ghana, particularly girls, who do not enrol in basic education or do enrol but drop out in the first six years of education. Again, there are wide disparities in educational attainment between northern Ghana and the rest of the country[1]. Approximately 650,000 children are currently out-of-school.[2]  Girls from northern Ghana average only four years of education, three years less than the national average. And 20% of children with physical disabilities are not attending school, according to the 2010 national census.[3]

Due to endemic poverty, lack of basic school materials, poor quality teaching, understaffing and non-conducive classroom environments (lack of furniture, poor ventilation and lighting, congestion…) learner achievement is currently limited. Children in the project district (Upper East in general) are often unable to read and write after attending school for several years (many rural schools achieve extremely low English and Mathematics pass rates in national tests)[4] and thus have few opportunities available to them on leaving school. The parents are therefore not encouraged to send their children to school. Notable among the inhibitors to girls’ education in the project region and districts include cultural practices like family betrothal, early marriage, and child fostering[5]. Home and other responsibilities of the girl child also prevent her from attending, remaining and performing in school particularly at the upper primary level when she takes on more responsibilities including caring for younger siblings and older relations. It is from this context and background that Link sees the introduction CBE as a vital intervention for the children, especially girls, in this district to seize this opportunity to access basic education.  

Project Aims

Link Ghana through its intensive engagement with projects in the districts understands the issues that affect education service delivery in these communities and works with key education stakeholders to create synergy to achieve better governance, ownership, accountability and management of the CBE schools.  Complementary Basic Education (CBE) programme provides an opportunity for Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) to enter primary education, and develop the basic mother-tongue literacy and numeracy skills required to access grades 3 or 4 of primary school through an accelerated literacy and numeracy approach specially targeted to their needs.

CBE helps disadvantaged children attain basic numeracy and literacy skills so they can be integrated into mainstream school and complete a full cycle of primary education. Over a period of just nine months, children aged 8-14 who are not in school are taught basic literacy, numeracy and life skills in their mother tongue using accelerated literacy strategies contextualised to their community. They are then ready to join primary school for the first time.[6]

Project Activities

  1. The Districts Assemblies and Ghana Education Service are placed at the centre of the intervention and will be the ‘nexus’ of sustainable change
  2. All project activities are justifiable in terms of their ultimate impact on learner achievement.
  3. Parents and communities have an increased role in managing their children’s education working alongside facilitators and education managers pivotal in the delivery of quality CBE.
  4. Community teachers (community volunteer facilitators) are placed in target schools and provided with continuous training and support to bring about improved performance.
  5. Link Ghana uses pedagogical approaches which are interactive and participatory; child-centred and rely on local teaching and learning materials.
  6. We use phonic/syllabic methods and mother tongue and a flexible timetable to suit local conditions.
  7. The project aims at 12:13 boy-girl ratio in a class.
  8. The volunteer facilitators supported to have improved capacity and motivation to provide quality education to these children, particularly girls .
  9. Link Ghana applies continuous and on-going animation processes to enable communities and traditional leaders including chiefs to support changes in traditional beliefs/practices that negatively impact on girls’ education.
  10. Link Ghana ensures that District Education Offices and District Assemblies develop and implement policies that promote enrolment, retention and transition of children especially girls in schools.

Key achievements

  • Communities now have an increased role in managing their children’s education working alongside facilitators and education managers, pivotal in the delivery of quality CBE
  • Selected and trained facilitators for 125 community schools
  • Set up Centre Management Committees from the community to support the centres
  • School Management Committees and Learning Centre Management Committees are aware of relevant education policies and demand their rights ensuring that education policies are implemented by District Education Offices and District Assemblies to the full benefit of communities.
  • All community schools have been running with good attendance throughout the year as a result of strong community support and advocacy.
  • Over 80% of children enrolled in the CBE by Link Ghana in Cycle 1: 2013-14 were integrated into public primary schools.

[1] Ghana Statistical Service, April 2014

[4] National Education Assessment (NEA) 2013

[5]  The Quality and Inclusivity of Basic Education across Ghana’s three northern regions: a look at change, learning effectiveness and efficiency Associates For Change April 2013