The first ever rural education fund aimed at supporting brilliant but needy students has been launched by the Rural Aid Action Programme (RAAP), a non-governmental organisation in Ullo in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region.
The fund which has an initial capital of GH¢30,000 would among other things, support in the payment of fees for such students as well as provide them the necessary materials like books and school uniforms.
A cheque of GH¢1,711 was presented to the headmaster of Ullo SHS, Mr. Albert Bosoro, to cater for the fees of the 11 poineer beneficiaries.
Performing the launch, the Executive Director of RAAP, Mr. Evans Sinkare, intimated that the fund had become a necessity as a result of the increasing number of applications from parents and students in the district for the programme, seeking to assist once with the payment of fees.
He disclosed that RAAP has been supporting brilliant but needy students in the district since 1998 by paying their fees annually, adding that so far 35 students from both second cycle and tertiary institutions have completed their studies with assistance from the programme.
Mr. Sinkare said the main aim of establishing the rural education fund was, among other things, to help reduce the level of school drop-outs in the district and also promote awareness among parents to save money towards the education of their wards.
He appealed to the government to increase the participation of local non-governmental organiSations in interventions such as the European Union Micro Projects, Small Loan and Microfinance Scheme and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, to ensure that people in the rural communities benefitted from such interventions.
The Deputy Upper west Regional Minister, Mr. Cezar Kale, commended RAAP for the initiative, and appealed to public spirited individuals and institutions to contribute to the fund, to enable more students to benefit from it.
He emphasised that it was the desire of government to ensure that each district in the region had a Senior High School, in order to lessen the burden of parents transporting their wards to and from schools in other regions.
Mr. Kale added that the increase in the capitation grant; the free school uniforms and plans to extend the school feeding programme to 1000000 students from the current 700,000 were government’s interventions in reducing the burden in education on parents, in the country.
He lauded RAAP for the initiative and reiterated government’s to partner the private sector to bring relief to the rural poor and called for measures to be put in place to ensure that selection of person who benefitted from the fund was done in a transparent manner.