Ghana's Transition and Persistence Project: Learning Continues Outside of the Classroom
On a visit to two schools in the Eastern Region, the student bodies demonstrated the strength of extracurricular activities, sponsored by the Ghana Transition and Persistence (TAP) project. TAP, funded by USAID, was implemented from 2010-2013 in Ghana. From child rights to financial literacy, students were encouraged to become more engaged in and speak out on issues that impacted their lives.
Students at Suhyen SDA Junior High School (JHS) in New Juaben District began meeting twice a month for the convening of their Child Rights and Responsibilities Club. Dominic Kissi, the club’s facilitator, guided 46 students on discussions that included the right to education, equality before the law, good citizenship, and the responsibilities that always come with rights. Kissi explained how students most enjoyed learning about advocacy on child abuse, a topic about which they felt strongly.
The club also engaged in hands-on activities that provided students with the opportunity to embrace their rights and to be accountable for their responsibilities. As such, the students planted flowers to beautify the school grounds, planted a garden to grow plantains, cleaned the library, and visited a dam to learn about its role in the community. When asked about their participation in the club, students reported that because of their participation, they have more confidence and will more easily live with others in the community as they get older.
Not far away in Yilo Krobo District, students at Abrewankor L/A JHS went above and beyond expectations with their school’s Aflatoun club. Aflatoun teaches basic social and financial skills to children, providing them with practical experience needed to change their lives and the lives of those around them.
Gladys Dontah, the Aflatoun Facilitator, is leading 21 boys and 22 girls in the club meetings that have been gathering three times every term. Every term the students learned how to manage their finances more effectively, together with the opportunity to save together as a group. The treasurer, a student named Esther, handled all the money and managed the cash flow in and out of the group’s cardboard savings box.
Additionally, the club members learned how to make items out of local materials, which they could then turn around and sell for a profit. Items such as jewelry, fans, and other handicrafts allowed the students to earn income and increase the return on their group savings. The students worked all school year to create a large quantity of items to sell at the school’s 61st anniversary celebration, held this past November.
The student members explained how participating in Aflatoun taught them to save their money for the future and put funds toward items that would further their education, such as exercise books and exam fees. Likewise, their parents were happy with their new saving habits and ability to contribute to the cost of their own education.
Although the school name, Abrewankor, literally means “old lady doesn’t go there” in the local language because of its far distance to the closest town, enrollment is actually increasing. Since TAP interventions such as the Aflatoun Club began, enrollment has gone up. Additionally, Ebenezer Tetteh, the Head Master of the school, indicated that such interventions have improved the school’s pass rate for the national Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), which increased from 11 percent in 2011 to 87 percent in 2012.