School dropout in the Bawku West district of the Upper East region has become rampant and a worrying trend for stakeholders in the region.
Many school-age students in the region have dropped out of school in search of quick riches through illegal mining (galamsey) while others, especially girls, become pregnant and marry early.
The phenomenon not only affects the growth and development of children, but increases the rate of illiteracy in the region.
To help combat the threat, Mr. Godwin Abugbilla, a 100-level student from Ashesi University, has started a mentorship project in the district to help increase student retention in school and improve student achievement. school.
The movement dubbed “Students Activeness and Motivational Award Project (SAM AP)” with a grant from Ashesi University aims to provide a source of incentive and mentoring activities for students.
It would help them to appreciate the importance of education for their growth and development, thus to stay focused in school and learning.
Mr. Abugbilla, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information System (MIS), noted that apart from parents prioritizing agriculture at the expense of their children’s education, illegal mining in the area forced students to drop out of school.
He said the students did not see the importance of staying in school to learn, but instead engaged in illegal mining to get rich quick, thus putting pressure on the few people who were at school so that they also drop out.
“I came home and realized that most students were dropping out of school and people were blaming the problem on lack of motivation, mentorship and because some young people who made money through galamsey , some parents pressure their children to give up. and make money fast,” he revealed.
Mr. Abugbilla noted that the project therefore aims to mentor students through quiz competitions and entrepreneurship education, among others, to motivate students in the region to appreciate the role of education in their development and to attach importance to it.
He said the project which was launched with a quiz competition between four high schools would also provide ongoing guidance to students in the area regarding course selection and future careers.
Through the project, he said, it was also expected that students, especially girls, would be empowered to abstain from activities that would lead to unplanned pregnancies and early marriages.
“Some of the activities will also prepare students for their final exam, especially the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and help achieve academic resilience and excellence,” he added.
While commending Ashesi University for sponsoring the project, Mr. Abugbilla called on parents to invest in their children’s education as the surest way to create an enabling environment for development and poverty reduction. .
He told the students that “anything you can think of or dream is achievable, and it’s within you to make it possible”.
Mr. Pius Agbango, the director of Kpantarigo JHS, praised Mr. Abugbilla’s efforts to help change the situation in the region and encouraged the students to study hard and avoid social vices.