Gov't Achievements

MR SLUGGARD [BAWUMIA], GO TO THE ANT [JOHN MAHAMA] FOR GOVERNANCE TUTORIALS

Education has been a national priority for successive Ghanaian governments since independence. Ghana’s economic and social progress and human development depends, in part on empowering and educating this unique resource with the skill needed to take forward this nationwide goal. Quality education can lift families and communities out of poverty and increase the county’s economic growth.

John Mahama accelerated the development of education at all levels. He did not only repositioned the public school system but also, provided the enabling environment for greater participation of private individuals and agencies in the delivery of education services under government regulation.

Apparently, the Mahama administration should be applauded for rehabilitation and upgrading of government owned,schools at all levels and construction of new including the 200 community day secondary schools. He also refurbished and equipped our pyrotechnics, upgraded them to full-fledged universities to encourage participation in technical and vocational education and training.

Under Mahama’s administration, the number of private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions doubled as a result of the enabling environment the administration provided for private investors to operate. In line with the administration’s commitment to the proper funding of the sector, the administration almost tripled education allocation between 2013 and 2016. President Mahama is not the only Ghanaians calling on President Akufo,Addo and his government to take a second look at its Free secondary school policy. In fact, the Finance Minister himself has expressed his personal reservations about the concept, Dr Addo Kufour advised government not the rush the implementation.

Under the Mahama administration Ghana recaptured its enviable image of being the hub of formal education given the high influx of foreign students from the regions. It consisted of primary level education, secondary level, tertiary and vocational level education. We witnessed tremendous growth in investment in the education sector as a result of the administration’s deliberate effort to liberalize the economy and further creating a favourable environment thereby encouraging private sector investment. Private secondary schools and vocational institutions are collapsing because of the weaknesses in the implementation of the Free Secondary Education policy. The issues raised by the former President are not new. These are issues experts in the sector have been hammering on. The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana in its 2015 preliminary report on tracking public basic school infestation in five regions,revealed poor infrastructure conditions. The report also revealed that most of the school infrastructure lacked basic standard such as adequate classrooms, proper ventilation,etc etc. The report revealed that the quality of infrastructure affected education outcomes in most parts of the country.

Education is a fundamental human right for all children -this right may not be realised in Ghana if governments do not put measures in place to ensure adequate infrastructure provision to the schools. School infrastructure includes electricity, computer rooms, well furnished science laboratories, portable water, teaching and learning materials. Without these things,a school cannot work properly.

There are grave challenges we must dispassionately discuss and find to solution to. The grave challenges include poor quality of education, insufficient teachers and equipments to meet the growing classroom population The system is fraught with problems and the Vice President cannot hide these challenges with his attacks and propaganda soundbites. Academic performance standards are deteriorating. Examination results give a hint of this decline. A shortage of classrooms and teachers as well as belated disbursement of government grants are reportedly undermining the quality of education. Another risk, is the double track system.

The race for university admission for instance is expected to heighten next year when about 400,000 Free SHS beneficiaries complete school and apply for university admission . The backlog of students seeking admission will compound the problem. This backlog of over 200,000 students created as a result of the merging of two batches of SHS 4 and SHS 3. The over 200,000 students are going to compete with the over 400,000 Free SHS graduates. The student population of the 138 tertiary institutions including the colleges of education, nursing training institutions stands at 320,746 covering all batches and have the capacity to admit about 100,000 students year as a result of limited infrastructure. The automatic headache is going to be the institutions inability to admit even half of the over 400,000 students who will apply for admission. As the FSHS enters its third year, per the B&FT’s analysis the total students population in secondary schools across the country could hit over one million. Have we created enough space at the tertiary level to absorb the over 400,000 graduates? Have we equipped the tertiary institutions with adequate teaching and learning materials to facilitate teaching and learning at the tertiary level. As enrollment at the secondary and tertiary levels increases, more resources would be required to support the policy. The affordability of tertiary education in Ghana is a real challenge: $”state funding for the tertiary institutions especially the universities has been declining because of Free SHS. What are the universities going to do the mitigate shortfalls and related vulnerabilities. I don’t think people who call for a national debate on these sensitive national issues are saboteurs or doomsayers. Already students are frustrated by the increasing cost of higher education in the context of inadequate financial aid. From a financial perspective these are very legitimate concerns. Resources channeled into the education sector must be efficiently distributed and that is the point the former President raised.

The race for university admission for instance is expected to heighten next year when about 400,000 Free SHS beneficiaries complete school and apply for university admission . The backlog of students seeking admission will compound the problem. This backlog of over 200,000 students created as a result of the merging of two batches of SHS 4 and SHS 3. The over 200,000 students are going to compete with the over 400,000 Free SHS graduates. The student population of the 138 tertiary institutions including the colleges of education, nursing training institutions stands at 320,746 covering all batches and have the capacity to admit about 100,000 students year as a result of limited infrastructure. The automatic headache is going to be the institutions inability to admit even half of the over 400,000 students who will apply for admission. As the FSHS enters its third year, per the B&FT’s analysis the total students population in secondary schools across the country could hit over one million. Have we created enough space at the tertiary level to absorb the over 400,000 graduates? Have we equipped the tertiary institutions with adequate teaching and learning materials to facilitate teaching and learning at the tertiary level. As enrollment at the secondary and tertiary levels increases, more resources would be required to support the policy. The affordability of tertiary education in Ghana is a real challenge: $”state funding for the tertiary institutions especially the universities has been declining because of Free SHS. What are the universities going to do the mitigate shortfalls and related vulnerabilities. I don’t think people who call for a national debate on these sensitive national issues are saboteurs or doomsayers. Already students are frustrated by the increasing cost of higher education in the context of inadequate financial aid. From a financial perspective these are very legitimate concerns. Resources channeled into the education sector must be efficiently distributed and that is the point the former President raised. He spoke as a former President of the country who gave education a big boost. Apart from the Nkrumah government, John Mahama’s government made the biggest intervention in secondary education in the history of Ghana. He operated on the philosophy that the more you can expand education t all , the more you expand the possibilities for everyone. Because of the policies he implemented, Ghana achieved a target in excess of 90% of young people who should be in school and were in school. The administration achieved gender parity in terms of boys and girls in school. In spite of the heavy investment it made in secondary education including the construction of the 200 Community Day Secondary schools

-The $156 million Secondary Education Improvement Programme

-Improvement in quality and facilities in 175 existing Day SHS

-Provision of Scholarships to over 10,000 needy students

-Capacity building for Mathematics,Science and ICT teachers

-Leadership training for Secondary School heads

The administration built the Campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, the University of Energy and Natural Resources. And I line with the administration’s policy to establish a public university in each region, the government presented a bill to parliament for the establishment of a University for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Region. The administration also explored the processes towards converting the Wa, Navrongo campuses of University for Development Studies into autonomous universities for the Upper West and East Regions. The administration also constructed the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital , administration blocks in the Universities and polyclinics, ultramodern libraries.

160,000 teachers, representing 56 percent of teachers at the basic education level, received career development training, distributed over 10,000 made in Ghana sandals to pupils

With this record I don’t think Mr Mahama is a wrong person to advise the current administration on education.

Clause 5 of the 1992 constitution on Fundamental Human Right and Freedoms, Clause 25(1) states that all persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right. It is the responsibility of government to provide educational opportunities and facilities to the students or pupils. Clause 1(a) states that basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all. Have we made basic education available to all? Have we moved all the schools under trees into proper schools, do we have teachers in all schools across the country? Clause (b) also states that secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education. This provision in the constitution informed the administration’s decision to renovate existing schools, build new secondary schools, libraries, etc etc.

The Universities the NDC administrations built are going to admit beneficiaries of the Free SHS who will soon graduate, the pyrotechnics have become attractive because of its university status.

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