Education and Realizing Dreams in GhanaWritten by Kristine Tisinger
September 9, 2014
The drums start precisely at 8 a.m. every weekday. That’s when the children on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church School across the street from church headquarters gather to sing hymns in Ewe before the start of their classes. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is one of the largest churches in Ghana and is devoted to ensuring that every child that wants an education gets one. There are more than half a dozen EP schools in Ho alone. If you meet a child here, odds are good that they go to an EP Church school, and many are there thanks to scholarships.
Emmanuel is one such child. Emmanuel is one of the children that attends meetings at the Nenyo Harborbor Youth Rehabilitation Centre and goes to the school across the street from church headquarters. Some of the other children in the program attend schools in the town, some are even on scholarships like Emmanuel, but at 12 years old he is one of the only “older” boys who have chosen to stay in school rather than dropping out to make some quick money carrying heavy loads in the market. Emmanuel takes his education seriously. He knows that if he is to achieve his aspirations of becoming a bank manager he’ll need to continue to qualify for his scholarship by keeping his grades up and going to classes, even when no one is there to make him go. He finished the 2013-2014 academic year with glowing reports from his teachers and is looking forward to starting sixth grade at the end of September.
Global Ministries’ partnership in Ghana also helps to support one of the EP Church’s smallest schools. Fifteen young women meet on the grounds of church headquarters in a one room schoolhouse called The Activity Centre. The school caters to teenage mothers who have had to leave school in the past to take care of their families. But I was surprised to learn that not all of my students are mothers in the traditional sense. Some have their own children, but others left school to care for younger siblings and to help support their family when their parents died.
At the Activity Centre the students are given instruction for over the course of 18 months in English, social studies, math, entrepreneurship, health, cooking, crafts, batik (fabric dyeing), and dressmaking. In October 2014 and April 2015, this group of students will be the first to take the national exams in hopes of receiving a certificate proving that they have successfully completed high school. They’ll do this entirely without the aid of textbooks, as the school has none. Instead, teachers write out lessons on the blackboards at the front of the classroom and the students copy down every word to memorize it later. If a teacher is unable to make it to class due to illness or transportation problems, the students phone other teachers living near the school and ask them to come in to give impromptu lectures rather than having a cancelled class.
Ghana is emerging as a major economic force in Western Africa, and the young people of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Ghana understand that a formal education is now a necessity for their future. With the help of UCC and DOC churches, Global Ministries and the EP Church are making sure that these students have the opportunity to realize their dreams.
Kristine Tisinger serves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ghana, working with education and women's empowerment. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.Make a gift for this Mission placement
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