Chairman of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Kofi Asare is rallying the public to protest how the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is being administered by picketing at the seat of government – Jubilee House.
He believes the campaign to get reforms at GETFund can yield the necessary results if the presidency is brought into the picture.
Speaking on TV3’s current affairs show, The Key Point, hosted by Johnnie Hughes on Saturday, Mr. Asare demanded that the government promulgates a Legislative Instrument (LI) to guide the administration of GETFund.
The fund was established by GETFund Act, 2000 (Act 581). Its core mandate is to provide funding to supplement government effort for the provision of educational infrastructure and facilities within the public sector from the pre-tertiary to the tertiary level.
But a performance audit report by the Audit Service exposed some lapses in how the fund is managed including flouting of its own Act thereby funding the education of persons the Service said were ineligible.
In his assessment, Mr. Asare who is also Executive Director at Africa Education Watch said the canker, which has festered over the years, can only be cured with an LI.
“I believe that we should occupy the presidency, I believe that the president would initiate the reforms that we need,” he emphasized.
He warned that since the administrator of the fund, the board as well as the sector minister with oversight responsibility of the fund are all appointed by the president, and usually from the same political party, it is likely for a collusion to occur to the detriment of the needy in society.
He also wants the discretionary power vested in the Education Minister under the GETFund Act stripped, saying it provides the lacuna for wrongdoing to be perpetuated.
Mr. Asare described the award of scholarships to persons who ordinarily should have the resources to fund their own education as an “institutional failure” on the part of GETFund.
He is proposing the establishment of a Scholarship Authority that will have all scholarships by state institutions like COCOBOD and GNPC coming under it for proper administration and possibly stamping out political influence.
Legal practitioner, Bobby Banson though believes in occupation to get results, he rather wants Ghanaians to descend on GETFund and rather occupy the secretariat as the responsible institution that should have done the right thing from the word go.
“We are not angry enough. The institution has fundamental problems and it is obvious the politician is taking advantage of it; when will the ordinarily citizen rise up,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Bernard Conduah who works with the Audit Service has pointed out that it is the prayers of the Auditor-General that discussions will focus on the institution and not the individuals who benefitted from the fund.
He believes by focusing on the institution, it will put pressure on the secretariat to “respect the law” and do the right thing.
The Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament dated November 8, 2019 noted in part:
“In granting scholarships, GETFund Secretariat did not institute a robust selection process from 2012 to 2017 leading to haphazard granting of scholarships to Ghanaians to the detriment of those who really needed it.
“GETFund Secretariat did not also follow the requirements of the Financial Administration Act, 2003, (Act 654) to establish systems, policies and procedures to ensure the efficient and effective use of public funds. In so doing, GETFund Secretariat did not efficiently expend GH¢1.8 million of public funds from 2012 to 2018.”
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana