Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has revealed that the Mahama administration was able to reduce teacher absenteeism at the basic and second cycle levels from the 27 per cent they inherited to 7 per cent.
He told host Abena Tabi on The Key Points on TV3 Saturday, August 29 that the administration also managed to remove 65 per cent of the schools that were under trees.
This, according the former Deputy Minister of Education, was as result of the remarkable investment Mr Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) made in the educational sector.
Contributing to a discussion on the track records of the NDC and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Ablakwa said: “I will situate what we did in three broad spectrums: quality, access and equity.
“If you look at quality you will notice that former president Mahama was committed to improving outcomes and so looked at all the gamut of issues that has to be invested in and has to be addressed.
“So you take for example teacher absenteeism, we met it at 27 per cent and through a vigorours campaign, meeting with the teacher unions and putting in place the right systems because it is not fair that parents will pay fees, children will go to school and there are no teachers to teach them, by the end of our four-year mandate teacher absenteeism had reduced from 27 to 7 per cent.
“You take the nature of our rural schools. We counted not less than 4000 schools under trees [and] you are competing with students in Singapore, students in Finland and these are yardsticks. If you look at their class environment it is friendly, the child is looking forward to the next day of school and so we decided to embark on a programme which we call Elimination of Schools Under Trees. And the records will show that we managed to eliminate about 65 per cent of the schools under trees which we met across the length and breadth of this country.”
He further revealed that the best Basic Education Certificate Examination as well as the West African Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) results topped under the NDC administration due to these and other investments.
“For four consecutive years Ghana was adjudged the best WASSCE performing nation because of these investments that were made. We carried out an inventory of teachers we realised that some 3400 vacancies exist so far as Maths and Science teachers are concerned and we recruited teachers to fill that vacancies,” he said.
Reacting to his comments also on the same show, Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Second Cycle Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said the NDC only tackled the symptoms of the problems in the sector and left the actual problem.
“If you solve teacher absenteeism and not take a look at the school leadership and accountability you are not going to get anywhere.
“When it comes to education you have to be mindful of what you are doing. You may end up solving the symptoms of the problem and not the real problem itself.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana