The Northern region is the largest region in terms of land area but one of the smallest in population. The region shares boundaries with the Upper East and Upper West regions to the north, the Volta and Brong Ahafo regions to the South, Republic of Togo to the East and La Cote d’Ivoire to the West. The population is 2,479,461 according to the 2010 population and housing census.
The region has the lowest literacy rate in the country with only 32.5% of the population aged 15 years and above being literate. There is therefore a large concentration of illiterates in the region leading to high degree of poverty, ignorance, disease and underdevelopment.
Status of Literacy Classes
To address the poor literacy rate in the region and the three northern regions in general, NFED has instituted a 60/40 recruitment policy in which the three northern regions are given 60% quota as against 40% for the southern sector regions. Over the years, literacy classes have been established in all districts in the region in the approved local languages. Currently, Batch 17 literacy classes are on the ground. In addition, some voluntary spirited individuals have established classes in most of the districts under the supervision of NFED. Some NGOs have also established classes in communities in their operational districts.
Role of Communities
Community members are major stakeholders in literacy delivery and therefore have a major role to play. The community provides facilitators for classes as well as venues and furniture for class meetings. They also provide material and financial support for their development and income generating activities.
The doors of the Division are open to all Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations who share in the vision of NFED. Organizations in Literacy delivery, such as, World Vision, Action Aid and GILLBT are collaborating with the Division in the region. Others include the Ghana Education Service (GES), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and the District Assemblies. In September, 2011 World Vision passed out 143 learners comprising 68 males and 75 females from 5 Basic English classes in the Savelugu/Nanton District. The beneficiaries were products of the NFED classes who had passed out in the mother tongue programme. Another batch of 150 learners for 5 Basic English classes will take off by mid-January.
The Rice Sector Support Project (RSSP) under MOFA is also collaborating with the Division to provide functional literacy to rice farmers, rice processors and marketers. The project started in December 2011 and will run for one and half years. It will cover Tamale Metro, Savelugu/Nanton, Tolon, Central Gonja, Nanumba North, Yendi, East Gonja, Karaga, Gushegu, Nanumba South and West Mamprusi.
Learning Support Systems
Learning support systems such as radio and book boxes are being used by classes to complement facilitation and learning. Simli Radio, the only partner radio station in the region is located in the Tolon/Kumbungu district and serves both the Tolon/ Kumbungu, Savelugu/Nanton districts and parts of Tamale Metroplis. The division collaborates with the Station to produce and broadcast programmes for learners and target communities. Other radio stations broadcast developmental programmes which also complement lessons in the primer. These include Savanna Radio, Might Fm, Radio Diamond, Radio North Star, Filla FM, Radio Justice and Beshara FM.
In addition to radio support, classes have been given book boxes stocked with supplementary readers. Each book box contains between 50 to 100 library books of different titles. Learners borrow books from the book boxes to improve their reading skills as well as their understanding of themes in the Primer.
Status of Income Generating Activities
Income Generating Activity is a very important component of the National Functional Literacy Programme (NFLP). All literacy classes have been advised to form groups to undertake income generating activities. There are a total of 92 active groups in the region. Some of the activities of income generating groups in the region include groundnut oil extraction, sheabutter processing, smock weaving, farming and groundnut paste extraction. The Occupational Skills Development Unit has over the years built the capacity of the groups.
Innovation and the Way Forward
On the way forward, there is the need to intensify awareness creation to sensitize community members about community ownership of the programme. The Division must work closely with the Assemblies in the districts to put the Assemblies in a better position to understand the programme and support it. There is the need to increase the number of local languages used in the programme. The Konkomba language which is used by majority of the people in rural communities in the region must be considered for approval as one of the programme’s officially approved languages.
- Central Gonja
- East Gonja
- East Mamprusi
- Mamprugo Moaduri
- Nanumba North
- Nanumba South
- Tamale Metropolitan
- Tatale Sangule
- West Gonja
- West Mamprusi
- Yendi Municipal