Category Archives: Education

I’ll resign if you produce evidence I threatened to sack teachers – Napo

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Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, says he will resign if anyone produces evidence that he threatened to dismiss any head of public school that records 90 per cent of failure in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination.

Dr Opoku Prempeh was reported to have warned basic and second cycle school heads they will be dismissed should their students record 90 per cent failure in their final examination; a comment that has been condemned.

“Any school head who superintends over a failure of over 90% cannot be allowed to continue operation without accounting to the Ghana Education Service (GES),” he told heads of senior high schools in Kumasi.

Some teacher unions have rather called for the dismissal of the Minister accusing him of failing to identify problems that confront the educational sector before making that pronouncement.

Speaking to TV3,  Dr Opoku Prempeh denied the claim, and challenged anyone with evidence to come forward.

“The person who alleges I said it should prove it. If he proves I will resign as a minister. I haven’t said that anywhere. It is the duty of their regulators; Ghana Education Service who should drive standards and performances goals,” he told TV3 in an exclusive interview.

Dr Opoku Prempeh indicated  there are plans to monitor activities of the heads of institutions to increase quality and employable students in the coming years.

Meanwhile, at an interaction session with the various units under the Ministry of Education he criticised the Council for Technical and Vocational Training (COTVET) for being too laid back in their operations.

He was of the view that COTVET should be monitoring teacher absenteeism which has dropped to nine per cent since 2015.

Dr Opoku Prempeh also asked the accreditation board to sanitise the system and check on numerous certificates churned out by some institutions.

By Daniel Opoku|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

Group welcomes U-turn on financing free SHS with Heritage Fund

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A civil society group in the oil sector has welcomed government’s decision not to use the Heritage Fund to finance its proposed free Senior High School programme.

An endowment reserve, the Fund, which is 9 per cent of petroleum revenues, was established by the PRMA to support the development of Ghana’s future generations when the country’s petroleum reserves are depleted.

But the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo this week revealed that the government intends to review the Heritage Fund component of the Act (893) to finance the audacious free education programme of the Akufo-Addo government.

Many Ghanaians have questioned the decision, and asked the government to abandon same, citing various reasons including grounds of bad faith, considering the broader consultations that went into the establishment of the Act.

READ: Stay off Heritage Fund – Minority MPs roar

The minority members in parliament on Thursday also vowed to resist any attempt by the government to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to enable it use proceeds from the Heritage Fund to finance the free SHS.

In the midst of the protest, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Attah, dismissed the suggestion that the proceeds from the Fund would be used to finance the programme.

Responding to the latest development, the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG), said the decision would have undermined the national consensus on how much of the oil revenue to spend now and how much to save against the future.

It said “any arbitrary amendment of the law, using a party’s sheer majority in parliament, would have set a bad precedent for future retaliatory revisions of the same law, to suit party political expediencies of the time”.

A statement issued by the group Friday said the change of mind signifies government’s responsiveness to public concerns, and its respect for citizens’ right to democratic participation in decision-making.

Meanwhile, it said national dialogue on financing options for the free SHS wouldn’t be out of place and that if the enrolment and cost data available to government were shared, it will make for a more informed debate on the programme’s viability in the immediate, medium to long term.

By 3news.com|Ghana

What does Education Act 778 mean for Ghana?

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Introduction

This happens to be the first in the series of articles that I set to produce on education for this year. And on that score, I salute the Manhyia South MP, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, on his appointment as the new Education Minister of our Republic.

It is appropriate for us as teachers, education workers, parents, students, citizens and stakeholders to always remind ourselves of pertinent education acts, policies and programmes, such as the 2008 Education Act 778, and to work hard for their growth.

Society is dynamic, hence, the need for our nation’s education system to be as malleable as ever so as to contain useful modifications on its structure, content and management for it to keep up with the changing trends.

The evolving nature of society as against our philosophy on education as a nation, this write-up believes, is what might have triggered the birth of policy reviews, such as the 1973 Dzobo Education Report (which recommended the JSS Concept), the Education Review of 1987, the 1988 University Rationalisation Committee Report and the 1996 Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme. And not forgetting the 2000 Education Act 581 (which established the GET Fund), the Anamuah-Mensah Education Review of 2007 and the Education Strategic Plan (2010-2020)!

The fact is that several attempts have been made and shall continue to be made to adopt an education system which is relevant to the total attainment of our needs and aspirations and which can help improve the living conditions of all citizens.

We have had, as a country, major education acts, such as the Accelerated Development Plan for Education (1951), the Education Act 87 (1961) and the Education Act 778, which is the most recent Act that this write-up seeks to briefly dilate on with readers.

Objective of Education Act 778

The GES School Management Committee Resource Handbook (2010) says the objective of the Education Act 778, which is still in operation, is to provide for the establishment of an educational system intended to produce well-balanced individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills, values, aptitudes and attitudes to become functional and productive citizens for the total development and democratic advancement of the nation.

Levels of education in Education Act 778

The Education Act 778, a legal product of the National Education Reform (2007), has put our nation’s education system into three progressive levels, namely; basic education, which consists of two years of kindergarten education, six years of primary education and three years of junior high school education.

The Act 778 makes second-cycle education four years for senior high school education (but which was reverted to three years in 2009), technical, vocational, business and agricultural education, or appropriate apprenticeship training of not less than one year; as well as tertiary education at the university, polytechnic or college of education as established by an Act of Parliament or accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

Under the Act, provisions have been made for non-formal and life-long education as the Ministry of Education and District Assemblies (DAs) establish open colleges in the country’s districts. The open colleges and life-long educational establishments are expected to provide avenues for formal education and skill training as determined by the Minister of Education through a legislative instrument.

The content of Education Act 778

The Education Act 778 seems to have presented some lofty packages for the nation, including the right for every child of, at least, four years to access basic school education as recognised for that purpose by the Minister of Education.

The Act, through FCUBE, allows for free and compulsory access to basic education with DAs providing the needed infrastructure and other facilities in educating the child. And to ensure that every child enjoys quality basic education, the Act creates the room for parents, who deny their children education, to appear before the social welfare committees of DAs for appropriate action(s) to be taken.

The Act, therefore, believes and pleads for help at ensuring that education is made for “All” regardless of one’s sex, physical disability, tribe, geographic location, economic status or political affiliation. To this end, any parent, who fails to obey the recommendation(s) of any social welfare committee, shall be deemed to have committed an offence and which may be liable for prosecution at the law courts.

Meanwhile, parents, who truly lack the financial wherewithal, may be helped by DAs to send their children to school. And with the recent announcement by President Akufo-Addo that from September, this year, there will be a wholly free access to senior high, technical and vocational education, parents are expected to record some great measure of financial relief and then be motivated to send their children to school.

The Act also gives the Education Minister the incentive to initiate measures for implementing an effective decentralisation programme, where DAs shall have the executive duty to provide and manage basic and second-cycle schools in the country.

One good thing about education acts and reforms is that they do not just emerge from anywhere and anyhow. They are usually an upgrade of what is already in existence or has existed before following proper assessment and evaluation of an existing system.

A careful analysis of the content of the Education Strategic Plan (2010-2020), for example, which gives prominence to policies, such as Inclusive Education, ICT in Education, technical and vocational education, non-formal education, HIV/AIDS education, among others, tells us that nothing comes from the skies. They are simply an add-on to the already existing educational Acts and Plans, including the Act 778.

No educational act, plan, policy, programme or project, no matter how attractive it may appear, can succeed without the support of stakeholders, including teachers, parents and organisations. So let’s all continue to strive for our nation’s education to develop!

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

E-mail: amoatec27@yahoo.com/amoatec109@gmail.com

The writer is an educationist and a public relations officer of Ghana Education Service

Stay off Heritage Fund – Minority MPs roar; vow to resist its use for Free SHS

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The minority members in parliament say they will resist any attempt by the government to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to enable it use proceeds from the Heritage Fund to finance its proposed free Senior High School programme.

An endowment reserve, the Fund, which is 9 per cent of petroleum revenues, was established by the PRMA to support the development of Ghana’s future generations when the country’s petroleum reserves are depleted.But the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo this week revealed that the government intends to review the Heritage Fund component of the Act (893) to finance the audacious free education programme of the Akufo-Addo government.

Many Ghanaians have questioned the decision, and asked the government to abandon same, citing various reasons including grounds of bad faith, considering the broader consultations that went into the establishment of the Act.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the minority in parliament registered its disapproval to the decision, stating they will “resist any attempt to amend the PRMA for this purpose [free SHS financing]”.

Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Ato Forson who address the media described as “incompetent and lazy man’s approach,” the plan to use the Heritage Fund to redeem the campaign promise.

“It is obvious that the Heritage Fund, its investment and the amounts accrued so far would be woefully inadequate to meet the close to 1 billion dollars required annually to underwrite the free SHS programme,” he said.

TV3’s parliamentary correspondent, Evelyn Tengmaa reported that the minority have consequently asked the government to stay off the Heritage Fund, contending is reserved as savings for the future generation since petroleum resources are not renewable.“We cannot sit idle whilst the NPP attempt to mortgage our future for their partisan objectives,” Mr Forson stated.

Mr Forson challenged the argument that the Fund is set aside from the country’s fiscal management, saying that is “erroneous” because a critical examination of the fiscal table in the budget shows otherwise.

“The withdrawal of the Heritage Fund is likely to have a negative impact on the country’s reserves, the value of the currency and will lead to a likely de-stabilsation of the macro economic and fiscal situation of the country,” he stated.

He suggested that the Akufo-Addo government, which is just a month into office, has run out of ideas as to how to fund its flagship campaign promise of offering free SHS education.

“We in the NDC would like to offer them free advice to rather reallocate the distribution of national resources from sectors they regard as non-priority to their campaign promises.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com

Wesley Girls ’86 commissions solar-powered water project for alma

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The 1986 year group of the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast has handed over a GH¢180,000 solar-powered water project to the school.

The project was part of a gesture to mark the group’s 30 years after leaving school.

It is aimed at weaning the school off Ghana Water Company and cut its expenditure on water utility.

The project also attracted funding support from some organizations and other old girls not part of the 1986 group.

Four mechanized boreholes were drilled to be solar powered to supply water.

Three older boreholes were re-drilled as part of the project.

Bishop of the Cape Coast Diocese of the Methodist Church Right Rev. Ebenezer Abakah Wilson, inaugurating the project, commended the group for their benevolence and contribution to the development of the school.

Aside the project, the 1986 year group organized a mentoring programme for students on career choices and how to be marketable for jobs after school, as part of activities to commemorate the school’s 180th anniversary.

The group also organized a health outreach programme at Kakumdo, a community where the school is located and screened and treated hundreds of residents.

According to Judith Adjobah, President of the 1986 year group, members were honoured to give back to the school that nurtured them and prepared them for life.

The 180th anniversary and 30 years after school was graced by a great number of old girls of the school.

By Thomas Vincent Cann|3news.com|Ghana

Statement: Gov’t should stay away from Heritage Fund – ACEP

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The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has noted the desire of Government to use oil revenues to finance campaign promise of free Senior High School (SHS) education. ACEP has been campaigning for the use oil revenue to finance the pro-poor sectors of education and agriculture for four years.

Therefore, we cannot, in principle, be against the use of oil revenue to finance education. However, we want to alert government that the petroleum revenues are governed by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, Act 815, which was passed after deep consultation with citizens. In spite of many implementation challenges, the PRMA has been a model for many countries and Ghana can only do better at improving on transparency and accountability around the use of the oil revenues. Much as we support the use of oil revenue for financing education, we want government to recognize the significance of the heritage fund and not touch it.

ACEP therefore states its position on the use of oil revenue to finance the free SHS as follows;

  1. Heritage Fund Still Relevant– the principle of intergenerational equity which informed the establishment of the fund ensure that ownership of the resources is shared among the living and the yet unborn. It also ensures sustenance of revenue flow after the oil has been exhausted. It is easier to assume that those of us living today can invest the heritage fund to benefit the future generation. This assumption is overly simplistic and takes away the right of the future generation to decide on their own priorities. The heritage fund represents about 9% of Benchmark Revenue (BR), leaving 91% of the BR for the national budget. This conservative amount left for the future should not attract uncontrolled appetite to spend. For the past 6 years the total payments made into the fund plus interest is $277 million. This is not enough to fund only about 3 years of the cost items to be waived by government estimated to be about GHS327million, holding the 2015 enrolment constant. With anticipated growth in enrolment occasioned by the programme, the heritage fund could be woefully inadequate to sustain the free SHS programme.
  2. Use the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA)- the credible window for financing the free SHS policy from oil revenues will be through the ABFA. It must however be highlighted that the current architecture of the PRMA allows for only 30% of the ABFA for recurrent expenditure. Given that most of the cost items for the implementation of the Free SHS are recurrent expenditures, government will have to amend the law to be able to spend more that 30% of the ABFA

 ACEP will want to recommend that;

  1. Government should continue to grow the Heritage Fund. The purpose of establishing the fund is still valid today and we should not deny the future generation an opportunity to decide what they do with their share of the resources as was done by past leader with mineral revenues.
  2. The PRMA should be amended to allow 50% of the ABFA to support the Free SHS programme. This will be a more equitable way of distributing the resources than financing “ghost project” through thin distribution of oil revenues.
  3. Reduce allocation to GNPC- Government should take steps to streamline the operations of GNPC to focus on its core mandate and redirect some of its allocation into the budget to finance education.
  4. Use part of Solid Mineral Revenue to support the Free SHS- this is an opportunity for government to introduce governance framework similar to the PRMA on mineral revenues and allocate portion of mineral revenues to education.
  5. Government should recognize that the capital budget of the education sector has been lower than 6% of the total sector budget in recent past, therefore, education sector financing should equally be big on improving the asset base of the sector.

Signed

Benjamin Boakye

Deputy Executive Director

 

Education Minister should be sacked if… – Teachers fight NAPO

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Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Teacher unions have protested against threat by the Education Minister; Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh that basic and second cycle school heads who record 90 percent failure in their schools final exams will be sacked.

The unions accused the minister of failing to identify problems that confronts the educational sector before making that pronouncement.

The Education Minister while addressing heads of senior high schools (SHS) in Kumasi as part of a two-day familiarization visit to the Ashanti Region emphasized that any school head who superintends over a failure of over 90% cannot be allowed to stay in office.

Reacting to the issue on Onua FM’s Yen Nsempa hosted by Bright Asempa on Thursday, the General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), David Ofori Acheampong said “it is not right to blame teachers”.

He asserted, “We should blame the government for this because go to schools in Accra and find out, only KGs have printed syllabus. The rest are on pen drive and teachers will be called to come for it and print them.”

He said “the logistics are not there so if they will sack teachers, then the minister himself will be sacked because it will mean all those in the chain of command did not do their work well and that is not the way to go”.

“If we want to find the way to solve it, that is not the way to go and we shall not wait for such thing to happen. The previous government did the same. They never saw anything good in teachers and that is not the way to go”, he lamented.

David Acheampong said “this will not happen in the country and we are ready for them”.

The President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Christian Addai Poku also remarked, “I am surprised about the comment and it is really unfortunate”.

“On what bases did he said 90%. How about the teachers, workers and the people who are going to work?” he queried.

He said “we need to motivate them and not threaten them. You don’t just conclude that because the children failed, the headmaster is the cause”.

Mr. Addai Poku explained that “if you duel on the headmasters alone, it does not make sense. If that is his agenda, then we have a problem. If he is going to use threat to achieve his goals, then there is a problem”.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Ona 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana

Nana Awere Damoah launches latest book Feb 25

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Nana Awere Damoah has six books to his credit so far

Award-winning author and engineer Nana Awere Damoah adds yet another exciting volume to his impressive list of books.

Colloquially entitled Nsempiisms, his latest book will be launched on February 25, 2017 at Jamrock, a restaurant on Jungle Street, East Legon.

Nsempiisms, which is his sixth book, is made up of a rich mix of social satire on the Ghanaian situation and value-laden anecdotes that inspires the human spirit.

The title is an Akan term which loosely means ‘matters of public concern’. Nsempiisms is already available as an e-book and in hardcopy on Amazon, iBooks, Azaliabooks and other online platforms.

The event is expected to draw audience from the literary circles as well as influential members of Ghanaian society.

Damoah is listed as one of the top ten exceptional non-fiction writers from Ghana by Gird Center.

“I envy the mind of Nana Awere Damoah. Nsempiisms is deep, insightful and piercing, yet Damoah’s writing flows with breezy simplicity,” observed TV show host Kwaku Sintim-Misa.

Since he came out with his first book in 2008, Nana Awere Damoah has consistently engaged his audience both in Ghana and abroad on the questions of self-improvement and patriotism.

In partnership with his compatriot Kofi Akpabli, he has also pursued a national reading campaign dubbed DAkpabli Readathon which features entertaining public book readings.

Damoah started serious writing when, in 1997, he won first prize in the Step Magazine National Writing Competition.

He is the author of five other books: Sebitically Speaking, I Speak of Ghana, Tales from Different Tails, Through the Gates of Thought, and Excursions in my Mind.

He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Additionally, he is wrapping up a Postgraduate Diploma in Operations and Supply Chain Management with the University of Liverpool. A British Council Chevening alumnus, Nana works in Nigeria as a Technical Manager. Nana Awere Damoah is married with three children. He divides his time between Lagos and Tema.

In this new book, Nana Awere Damoah brings to his readers another thought provoking collection.

The event starts at 6:00 pm. There will be music and poetry recitals. Admission is free.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

Prez Akufo-Addo wants free cocoa drinks served as part of free SHS

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President Akufo-Addo announced that his Free SHS policy will begin in September, 2017

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wants Ghanaian students from basic to the senior high schools to be served with cocoa drinks each morning, the Acting CEO of Cocobod has said.

This is to allow the students to enjoy the benefits of Ghana’s cocoa products, he added.

Joseph Boahene Aidoo made this known on Tuesday, February 14 in an interview with 3news.com’s Yvonne Neequaye as part of Chocolate Day celebrations.

“We are putting in place measures to periodically serve our school children with chocolate and cocoa products,” he said in Twi.

He listed the many benefits that cocoa products provide, saying one does not get easily tired by drinking cocoa.

Even if one is tired, he explained, one easily gets replenished after drinking cocoa.

He said women in their period will find drinking cocoa most beneficial as it boosts blood transfusion.

These hitherto unknown benefits will be popularized from hence, the former Western Region Minister said.

He said local consumption of Ghana’s cocoa products will be promoted given the high costs on the international market.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

President of Groupe Ideal officially hands over six unit classroom block to ADA SHS

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President of Groupe Ideal, Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani has handed over an ultramodern six-unit classroom block to the authorities of Ada Senior High School in the Greater Accra Region.

The structure built by Groupe Ideal was commissioned by former President John Dramani Mahama last year. The six-unit classroom block with two staff common rooms and Nine (9) toilet facilities, is expected to house over 20% of the student population.

Speaking the handing over a ceremony, Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani, an old student of the school, stressed “education is the way of improving living standards and reducing poverty in any country.”

“We are therefore providing both the students and teachers with a conducive learning environment so they can concentrate on their studies,” he added.

He further challenged “individuals and corporate organizations to complement the efforts of government to bring development to the people.” He reiterated, the purpose of the edifice is to provide quality teaching and learning in the school.

He charged the students to study hard to lift the name of the school in high esteem and also advised authorities to take good care of the building and ensure proper maintenance of the edifice.

“I want to see ADA SHS as one senior secondary every young chap would want to attend,” Dzani noted, promising to do more for the school and the community at large in the coming years.

Management of the school thanked Groupe Ideal for the kind gesture.

Groupe Ideal has contributed a lot to communities through their corporate social responsibility initiatives and ADA SHS is one of such.

By Jerry Tsatro Mordy |Onua 95.1|3news.com