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Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Many children of school going-age not in the classrooms

Better Ghana for some few politicians

Koforidua, Feb 5, GNA - Many children still roam the streets of Koforidua selling during school hours in spite of the Capitation Grant and other educational intervention by government to ensure that every child of school going age has access to education.

These children sell sachet water, oranges, biscuits, plantain chips, coconuts and other vegetables in the markets, lorry parks and from office= to office in the New Juaben Municipality.

Ghana News Agency has interacted with at least 35 children who expressed their desire to go to school but had been asked by their parents or guardians to sell to be able to provide for their needs in school. Some of the children between the ages of nine and 15 years had travelled from nearby towns such as Tafo, Nkurakan, Oyoko and Suhyen to sell those items to enable them pay for school levy, or to buy footwear or a book for school.

Kofi Mensah 12, a coconut seller, who had come from Tafo told GNA that he was living with his paternal grandmother and for the past two weeks had been following his elder brother who sells coconut to enable him buy books needed for school. He said although the grandmother was a palm oil producer she asked him to also sell to provide for some of his needs hence the decision to come to Koforidua to sell coconuts.

Rita Owusu, 13, and a class six pupil who sells oranges told, said she stays with her parents and that she was the first of six children. She said her mother had asked her to sell oranges to raise some money to support the family income. Rita said she provided for all her school needs from the trade and so when there was no money she had to stay out of school.

When the Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mr Charles Dontoh, was contacted on the issue he said the Children's Act stipulated that every child of school going age must have access to school without any hindrance. He said equally the law obliged all parents as well as guardians to provide the needs of their children, especially those that border on education so that they did not deny the children their right to at least basic education. Mr Dontoh quoted section 15 of the Children's Act and said any person who contravened it was liable to a court fine not exceeding GHC 500 or a jail term of not more than six months.

He said for reasons of poverty, government had intervened with the capitation grant, free uniforms and feeding and therefore parents had no excuse to use their children for trading at the expense of schooling. Mr Dontoh said his outfit had embarked on education on the need for parents to send their children to school. He appealed to the public to report any parent who deliberately refuses to send her ward to school to the nearest police station.


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