This year, Create Change is proud to announce that this is the first year it will no longer be supporting secondary school fees since Ghana’s government announced that secondary school fees would be phased out.
Last year, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo- Addo followed through with a campaign promise saying “there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science center fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees. There will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.”
Create Change is overjoyed at the fact that costly secondary fees will no longer be a barrier for students in Ghana to continue their education. With only roughly 37 percent of students enrolled in secondary education in Ghana, abolishing secondary fees is a step towards increasing the number of people living in poverty who can continue their education to the secondary level.
“We are thrilled that Ghana’s government is phasing out secondary tuition,” said Create Change’s Executive Director Shannen O’Brian. “We have been advocating to remove barriers so children can continue their education, and this is a huge win for people living in poverty.”
O’Brian also noted “There is still a lot of work for Create Change to do. While free secondary school tuition will ensure youth all over Ghana who have made it can continue their education, for most girls in Northern Ghana secondary school is never an option because they are dropping out of school as early as grade four. We believe the most effective way of changing this is through empowering young women who come from poverty to make a difference for the next generation. We believe if we continue to work with girls from poverty at the secondary level to become change makers, they will bring positive change to the communities they come from. ”
Without costly fees needed to sponsor marginalized girls, Create Change can now focus its efforts on teaching girls how to use their education to benefit others, and work to break the cycle of poverty for good. Create Change is thus launching an intensive leadership program for girls living in poverty who are attending secondary school. Through their three years of secondary school, Create Change’s leadership program will empower girls through:
a) Regular coaching workshops, one-on-one counselling and peer mentorship to give girls confidence and belief in themselves that they can be leaders
b) Career planning workshops, and seminars on strategy and goal planning so girls can develop a life and career plan that will ensure they will become successful in their pursuits
c) The opportunity to lead Create Change funded projects in their communities in the areas of community development, business and entrepreneurship, and female empowerment so they have experience in a leadership role
With the support of our donors, the goal of the leadership program is to empower girls at a critical time so as they go on to build their futures after high school, they have larger goals as they will see themselves as powerful agents of change. Not only will Create Change’s leadership program ensure that when girls graduate that they have a clear plan on how to pursue a serious career in the areas of entrepreneurship, community development, and education, they will also understand how to develop partnerships and networks, create innovative programs and initiate change in their communities.