About 25 per cent of children of school-going age in the Central Region are out of school, Mr. Augustus Nii Lante Cleland, Central Regional Director of Education, has observed.
Instead, they are either found engaging in fishing at the beach or following tourists about for money.
Mr. Cleland made the disclosure at the closing ceremony of the 7th Central Regional Education Sector Annual Review in Cape Coast.
The two-day conference was attended by about 120 participants including district directors and managers of education, district assemblies as well as district chief executives from across the region.
It was under the theme, ?Achieving the MDG target on education in the region by 2015: the role of stakeholders?.
Mr. Cleland expressed worry about the fact that in spite of government?s investment of 6.1 per cent of the nation?s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Basic and Senior High School Education, there were still children who were outside the school system, saying this was not the best.
?As the cradle of education in Ghana, I need no prophet to predict that the Central Region holds the key to the transformation of our dear country since education plays a vital role in the development of every nation and also serves as a catalyst for rapid socio-economic development?, he stated.
He noted that Government?s goal of wealth creation to transform the country into a middle income status by 2015 would be a mirage if a proportion of the population in the Central Region remained illiterate and unskilled, adding that it was only through education that children could realize their potential for self actualization.
Mr. Cleland appealed to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to change their attitudes towards educational issues in the region in order to ensure every child of school-going age was in school in order to develop their latent intellectual abilities.
In a speech read for her, Ms. Benedicta Naana Biney, Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) noted that education enabled people to break through the vicious cycle of poverty and made a great difference in girls? employment opportunities, marriage and capacity to make decisions about their lives.
She said education also opened doors for social inclusion and independence for children with disabilities, as well as enabling communities to make informed choices about their future and contributed to good governance and sustainable development.
She said in order to meet the Education Fast Track Initiative and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), it was important to among others, increase equitable access to education at all levels, including persons with disabilities, improve quality of teaching and learning, bridge the gender gap in access to education and also improve the management of education service delivery.
Mr. Agyir Aikins, Mayor of Cape Coast who read a speech for the Regional Minister, re-echoed the importance of education which he said was the key to the survival of the nation, adding that it should be approached in a more business-like manner to ensure that laudable goals are achieved.
He was of the hope that the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2010-2020 would be vigorously applied by the GES and also operationalised at the regional, district and institutional levels to reflect the new modalities enshrined for future delivery of education.
Mr. George Jerry Hanson, a retired Educationist who chaired the function, called for a total abolition of corporal punishment in schools since it contributed to children dropping out of school, and said other forms of punishment could be used.
On how to retain children in school, participants suggested among others that more early childhood development teachers should be sponsored by MMDAs, school feeding programmes should be extended to all Kindergartens (KGs) and also MMDAs should work together with Education Directorates to site KGs closer to communities.