Monday, October 11, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Building Fund Completes Library in Ghana

The Building Fund is happy to announce the completion of the temporary library at the Young Apostles International School. With a donation from TBF the Young Apostles School of Daban Panin was able to construct tables, chairs, and shelving to house the large donation of books from Books For Africa. The library officially opened on Friday, July 16, 2010.

To celebrate the opening of the library the students, parents and community of Daban Panin gathered for a ceremony. The school will now be one of very few in the Kumasi area with a library. The library will not only benefit members of the school, but also students, teachers and parents of the larger community who wish to further their education.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TBF Goes Live on Stuff Your Rucksack

The Building Fund recently joined more than 100 projects across the globe on is an online community that helps responsible travelers make a practical difference to the lives of those in developing countries that have so little, and deserve so much more. Visit their website to learn more!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Reaching the Poorest

A recent article in The Economist (Reaching the Poorest, January 23rd 2010) questions the effectiveness of a recent push to increase funding to schools in the developing world. The article suggest that getting children into school is only the first step towards education and underlying issues of teacher absenteeism, students retention, and rural access deserve greater attention.

Although the number of unenrolled school-age children dropped by 33mm in the years between 1999 and 2007, nearly 50% of those children enrolled in school were in India. In sub-Saharan Africa 45% of the worlds 72mm remain unenrolled in school. Furthermore, the greatest drop in unenrolment came in the short time between 2002 and 2004, without significant change since that time.

“In Ghana, sixth-graders sitting a simple multiple-choice reading test scored on average the same mark that would be gained by random guessing.”
The difficulty of enrolling children from remote areas, as well as those speaking a minority language or from communities long excluded from education is stagnating the process. The article offers that increased funding is not a solution. In developing countries low-cost for-profit schools routinely out-perform the free or tax-payer subsided school. Teachers are more committed and parents complain if standards slip. Another option is performance-related pay for teachers. The idea, which has been tested in India, saw the extra pay to be three times more effective in boosting students test scores than spending the same money on teaching materials.

In order to meet the goals of the UN’s “Education For All” initiative, multiple approaches to increasing school enrolment in developing countries must be explored. It is not enough to build a school if the teachers do not come to teach or if the students do not understand the language of the teacher. Greater attention must be paid to the complexities of education and new solutions developed to increase access to education.