Education is the main thread, linking many of Meet Kate's projects. One such example is our 'Meet Kate is going to school'-project. This initiative offers a scholarship to intelligent high school students who would otherwise have had to quit school, due to financial difficulties.
How does the Ghanaian school system work? In Ghana, just like in The Netherlands, there is an obligatory education system in place. This means that the government sponsors everything up till junior secondary school. From that point on, parents have to pay for the last three years themselves. This is often simply not an option. Statistics from Unicef and from our own investigation show that most children (97%, Unicef, 2009) go to primary and junior secondary school. However, this number drops drastically when looking at senior secondary school (only 47% of boys and 43% of girls remain in school). For this reason, we concentrate on children going from junior to senior secondary school. This is a critical point in their lives because these last years of school, often decide the course or career these young people will pursue.
Together with the government agencies responsible for secondary education in Agona and Gomoa District, Meet Kate selected four of the most appropriate schools to take part in this project. This choice was based on graduation rates, costs and guidance provided for the students. If students applying to these schools are unable to pay the school fees, they have the opportunity to apply for our scholarship program. Based on their letter of motivation and the interview - which the parents are also involved in - the most intelligent children from the poorest backgrounds are selected. If a student takes part in our program, they are assigned a personal mentor who is employed by Meet Kate. He is an essential part of the counselling process. His role is to liaise with the schools and support the students both academically and emotionally. He motivates them and deals with potential problems before they become an issue. Meet Kate believes in quality rather than quantity, so each year, we do not offer a scholarship to many students for one year, but to fewer students for the three years it takes to complete senior secondary school.
The scholarship covers school fees including exam fees, boarding fees and food, pocket money and the support of a mentor.