‘Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme’ (BEEP), an initiative to ensure significant increase in access to education in the Ahafo-Ano North Municipality of the Ashanti Region, has been launched at Katapei.
The rural-based Programme, a collaborative work of the World Bicycle Relief, World Vision Ghana and Mondelez International Cocoa Life, all Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would see more than 500 needy children being provided with bicycles.
This is expected to serve as a means of transport to aid them attend classes regularly to reduce dropouts in the area.Mr Eric Showell, Global Director of Programmes, World Bicycle Relief, speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the side-line of the event, said the vision was to encourage the beneficiaries to be punctual at school.
Katapei and its surrounding communities, including Addaekrom, Mampongkrom, Kwaku Dua-krom, Alhassankrom, Piase, Jachie, Dwamenakrom and Nkrankrom have one of the highest school drop-out rates in the Municipality.
Research has shown that distance is one of the key factors contributing to this development as many children have to walk for more than three kilometres to school.Katapei M/A Basic School, the only educational facility serving the communities, have seen consistent drops in school enrolment over the years, and stakeholders are currently working harder to reverse the trend with various initiatives.
Mr Showell said in view of the importance of education in the development of any society, his organization would continue to assist children in deprived zones with the needed devices to serve as an incentive in achieving their literacy objectives.
More importantly, the Global Director of Programmes affirmed their resolve to motivate the girl-child to aspire for greater heights in their educational ambition. Ms Thelma Thompson, the Project Manager of World Vision Ghana, said a bicycle supervisory committee (BSC) had been put in place to select beneficiaries for the Programme.
Venerable Dr Samuel Agyin-Kyereme, Ahafo-Ano North Municipal Educational Director, said the lack of accommodation and other social amenities for the teaching staff is a barrier to educational development in the area.
“At best we have teachers staying for only one year, and then, they leave,” he said, and appealed to corporate organizations to come to their aid in order to improve the situation.