INERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (INGOs) AND THE PROMOTION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO QUALITY EDUCATION IN GHANA: A CASE STUDY OF WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL, GHANA

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ABSTRACT

This study focuses essentially on analyzing the extent of collaboration between World-Vision Ghana, the Government of Ghana and schools in ensuring the provision of quality education, as a way of promoting development across the country, with special reference to the Ga-West, Fanteakwa, and Afram Plains Districts. The study is purely qualitative and relies primarily on literature review and interviews for data collection and analyses. The main objective of the study was to assess the role of World Vision educational projects on children in rural communities who are not privileged to receive government support which leads to low literacy and learning in these communities. Major findings from the study reveals that World Vision-Ghana has adopted initiatives cooperation with the government and other relevant stakeholders garnered at ensuring the provision of education in Ghana, with special emphasis on the study area. Paramount among the initiatives are awareness creation, lobbying for effective legislation and policies, assisting in capacity, among others. The study also shows that the impacts such initiatives have had on education in the study area include improvement in grassroot participation in education delivery, improvement in general child literacy across the country, ensure equitable access to good quality, child-friendly free universal basic education, enhancement of teaching skills, and helping in the attainment of the goals and objectives of FCUBE. The study also reveals that the government, in cooperation with World Vision-Ghana have encountered a number of challenges in their quest to ensure the provision and improvement in child education in Ghana. These challenges coupled with economic hardships, lack of political will on the part of the government, among others. Towards this end, the study recommends that the Government of Ghana should continue to collaborate effectively with INGOs such as World Vision, to be able to effectively tackle the educational challenges especially in the provision of child education in Ghana.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

    Background

Education is the process by which the mind develops through learning and training at schools, colleges, or universities. It is also the knowledge and skills that one gains from being taught.1 The educated individual develops physically, mentally, emotionally, morally and socially. The work of education may be accomplished by an individual, teacher, the family, a church or any other group in society.2

International Non-governmental Organizations are very crucial agents of development in International Economic Relations. They are essential tools for the promotion of the Global Common Goods of which the provision of quality education forms a fulcrum part. This is also against the fact that in the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of its seventeen point agenda for development listed quality education as parts of its agenda.3 This was in 2015 and with a time frame stretched to 2030 the SDGs brings together all three aspects of sustainable development (the economic, social and environmental) in a relatively much more integrated way than the MDGs ever did.4 The Sustainable Development Goals provide a global footprint to, among other points, ensure the provision of quality education and INGOs could and are partners in this regard as UN agenda for development is concerned.

An academic exercise such as this which concentrates on Ghana is very timely especially when the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, together with the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg are the co-chairs of the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates until the end of 2018.5

To the extent that quality education remains crucial, the Dakar Framework for Action set at the World Education Forum in 2000 established an ambitious six plan Education for All (EFA) goals to be achieved by 2015. In relation to the goal of achieving access to education for all, there has been an improvement in net enrolment ratios with more children enrolled in school during the last decade in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, among the poorest children the chances of completing primary education still remains low.6 The inability of most children in developing countries to get access to better quality education impedes the fulfillment of their right to quality education which is enshrined in the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989). According to UNCRC (1989), children have the right to quality education and these rights and other rights of need are to be protected and promoted in all circumstances.7

The Government of Ghana has shown enormous commitment to the achievement of “Education for All” (EFA) through its poverty reduction strategy. Central to the Government of Ghana’s (GoG) Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) is the provision of quality education. Also, through the GPRS, the GoG affirmed its commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) has four thematic areas outlined in its Education Strategic Plan (ESP) which was meant to achieve the MDGs. These are equitable access, quality of education, educational management, and science and technology. One

of the policy goals under the quality of education is to improve the quality of teaching and learning for enhanced pupil/student achievement. The comprehensive nature of Ghana’s education strategy has been acknowledged by the international community (Education Sector Performance Report, 2004).

This study focuses on the approaches adopted by International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) to reaching primary school age children excluded from any access to the conventional state education system. Approaches by INGOs to reaching these children are considered with respect to both the implications of their role as a complementary role to the state, as well as of the alternative education services that they offer. Provision made by INGOs is most often aimed at sub-groups of populations who are not reached even where the state remains the main provider of education more generally. It is this vein that the study focuses on the role INGO plays in the provision and improving of the quality of education received by children of school going age in Ghana, with central focus on World Vision-Ghana.

    Statement of the Problem

As development actors, INGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulfill its traditional role. In the education sector, many INGOs have moved beyond ‘gap-filling’ initiatives into capacity building activities complement with traditional service provision.8

INGOs have a significant impact on the whole process of providing quality education for children but are also plagued by severe obstacles. INGOs continue to suffer from a lack of resources and

from their general estrangement from the State. Unless they become partners with government, and not competitors, development initiatives will continue to be stunted.