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Government begins distribution of free exercise books to pupils in basic schools

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghana

Government of Ghana is putting more smiles on the faces of parents and guidiances of pupils in the country.

To this end, the government is distributing free exercise books to pupils in all public basic schools throughout the country.
The distribution is in fulfillment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) campaign promise in 2008.

It aimed at retaining the current school enrolment and also bring on board a number of school going children who are currently out of school because their parents cannot afford exercise books for them. Mr. Alex Tettey-Enyo, Minister of Education, kick-started the distribution of the books at Ayikuma Saint Peter's Roman Catholic Basic School, near Dodowa in the Dangme West District of the Greater Accra Region. He said government had procured a total of 42,650,000 exercise books at a cost of GHc 29,622,500 for onward distribution to pupils in this academic year.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo was accompanied by Mrs Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh, Deputy Minster of Education in-charge of Pre-tertiary Education, Mr. Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Directors of Departments at GES Headquarters, the District Chief Executive and Members of Parliament for Sege and Shai Osudoku Constituencies. The Minister said out of the figure, 23,750,000 were note one exercise books, 1,500,000 graph books, 1,500,000 technical drawing books, 2,400,000 primary one Mathematics books, 2,100,000 primary one writing books and 2,100,000 primary one language books.

The rest were 3,600,000 primary two and three Mathematics books, 3,600,000 primary two and three writing books and 2,100,000 primary two language books.

Mr. Tetteh-Enyo said each student at the Junior High School (JHS) level was entitled to 15 copies of the books, 10 copies for those at the upper primary level and seven copies for those at the lower primary level. The 80-page exercise book whose covers were designed in the national colours has its front and back covers embossed with a portrait of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's First President and his biography. Mr. Tettey-Enyo said government recognized basic education as the fundamental building block of the country.

He said that a participatory, literate citizenry was the foundation for democratic processes, economic growth and social well-being of a nation's population.

Mr. Tetteh-Enyo said the central goal of the country's education system was to ensure that all citizens were equipped with the fundamental knowledge and skills that would enable them to be full stakeholders and beneficiaries of development, adding "the gesture is to make education affordable and accessible to all".

He explained that government's promise to provide free school uniforms to pupils in deprived communities was on course, and had also planned to expand the School Feeding Programme (SFP) during the 2009/2010 academic year.

"It is government's belief that with the introduction of the free exercise books, parents will be relieved and savings accrued will be used to support the other needs of the children to complement government's efforts in promoting quality education," he said.

Mr. Tetteh-Enyo said government had observed that the introduction of the Capitation Grant and the SFP were laudable programmes and had been adopted and improved upon even increased the grant per child per year from GHc3.00 to GHc 4.50 covering 5,372,684 pupils at the basic schools. He called on the pupils to take good care of the exercise books and use them for the purposes for which they were supplied.

Mr. Bannerman-Mensah, lauded the exercise saying it would further increase enrolment at the basic school level.
Ms Elizabeth Ampofo, Headmistress of Ayikuma Saint Peter's Roman Catholic Basic School, described the exercise as a "befitting Christmas gift" to the pupils.

In a related development, Mr Tettey-Enyo and his entourage went to Kordiabe Roman Catholic Basic School, Doryumu District Assembly Basic School and Doryumu Methodist Basic School all in the Dangme West District to distribute some exercise books to the pupils.





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