The Child Rights International (CRI) says there should be an increase in the quota system reserved for students of rural and deprived communities in senior high schools from 30 to 40 per cent.
The organisation said although the 30 per cent quota was yielding great benefits, an increase would triple the total gains the policy would have on children from deprived areas.
A statement signed by the Executive Director of the CRI, Bright Appiah, said if government “aims to implement and have a comprehensive policy that would address the needs of rural children, then the quota system should be reviewed and if possible, peg it at 40 per cent to give more children the opportunity to have access to secondary school”.
Increasing the quota, it said, would not only help majority of Ghanaian children from rural communities to have access to secondary education but also change their lifestyle and the status quo,”
“As a country, we have seen the benefits of giving more opportunities to children to access quality education. If more initiatives are implemented and the quota system is expanded, Ghana could be on its way to scaling the literacy rate among its citizens in the next few years,” the statement said.
The CRI also asked that the increase in the quota for rural communities to 40 per cent be protected in such a way that no government change would alter it.
“A clear directive policy must be put in place since that would make it impossible for a reverse should there be a change in government,” it said, adding that Grade ‘A’ schools must also endeavour to ensure children from rural communities received proper training that would empower them like their counterparts.
Since the implementation of the 30 per cent quota for rural communities, the CRI explained that the move continued to yield greater result where children from those communities had been given access to Grade ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools.
“This policy has favoured rural communities, looking at the circumstances they find themselves and how they are able to pass their exams,” the statement said.
The organisation said a research it conducted revealed that when “children come from the rural communities and are able to access secondary schools which give them a level playing ground, they perform far better than their counterparts from well-known schools”.
“They are also able to develop the right mentality where they ditch any wrong belief that otherwise would have hunted their future goals and ambitions,” the statement added.
The CRI commended the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) for showing effectiveness in the implementation of the 30 per cent quota system reserved for students of local communities in senior high schools admissions under the new computerised system.
It also urged them to work as a collaborative team to remove any barriers that would affect the policy.
The organisation said it had hopes that those challenges could be addressed and completely removed to ensure quality and broad access to education.