|Presentation By Amb. Lee Ocran, Minister For Education At The Meet The Press Session|
|Tuesday, 22 May 2012 14:19|
Presentation By Amb. Lee Ocran, Minister For Education At The Meet The Press Session
At every point in the development process, concrete measures have been put in place in terms of structure and content to ensure the delivery of quality education at all levels of the education system in the country.
Situating The Education Sector Within The Ndc Education Development Agenda
The Government has therefore taken bold and concrete steps to improve the conditions at the basic education level by ensuring that the free, compulsory and universal basic education becomes a reality, improve post-basic and secondary education and make access to tertiary education available to everyone who wishes to enroll and improve on his or her skills and academic knowledge.
The key players involved in achieving this intention are teachers and education workers. The NDC Government is committed to its manifesto pledge to provide allowances to teachers in deprived areas and to provide additional motivation packages for Science, Mathematics, Technical and Vocational Teachers.
During the past year, the Ministry initiated processes to ensure that these objectives are fulfilled, fully aware of the financial challenges confronting the country. The Ministry of Education is currently engaged in discussions with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to implement the 20% special allowance to Teachers in deprived areas. The payment will be carefully targeted to ensure that every teacher who is performing his/her duties satisfactorily in deprived areas benefits from the package as soon as possible.
In its determination to improve on quality education, the Ministry through the Ghana Education Service revived the conduct of the School Performance Appraisal Meetings (SPAM). This was initiated in the mid 1990’s by the NDC Government as an accountability and efficiency mechanism at the basic level. The Meetings are currently done in all the Districts across the country. The conduct of SPAM promotes the full participation of communities in the management and delivery of education at the basic level.
The Ministry would like to take this opportunity to encourage every stakeholder to demand tangible improvements in teaching and learning in schools located within their communities.
The Ministry prepared an Education Strategic Plan in 2003, to cover the period 2003-2015. The strategic plan guides development within the education sector for the defined period. The plan highlighted the policies, strategies and programmes guiding the delivery of education in Ghana.
As a strategic document, the ESP became the basis for driving the implementation of education at the decentralized level, with all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directorates preparing an Annual Education Operational Plan as a complement to their respective District Strategic Plans.
Having implemented the strategic plan for five years, the Ministry of Education initiated a process to revise the Education Strategic Plan to respond more robustly to the challenges of the sector and include new and emerging perspectives in the delivery of education. I am glad to inform you that the revision has been completed after extensive stakeholder consultations and the sector now has an Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2010-2020.
The ESP (2010-2020) encompasses the education goals of the Government of Ghana and provides a framework within which education shall be delivered and managed. The revised strategic plan has as its fourth volume, a monitoring and evaluation plan. This is indicative of the Government’s commitment to account to the general public - the resources that the Ministry shall use to implement the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2010-2020).
The issue of access to education is central to the education delivery process. In this context, Ghana has made considerable progress at all levels of education. The Government is committed to evolving strategies that will ensure increased access to education at all levels.
During the period, the total number of children enrolled at Pre-schools in the country increased from 1,491,450 in the 2010/11 academic year to 1,543,314 in the 2011/2012 academic year. Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) at KG registered an increase of 1% to reach 99.4% in the 2011/12 academic year from 98.4% in 2010/11 academic year.
There has been some improvement in the completion rate indicator at both the Primary and JHS stages. In 2010/2011 academic year, primary completion rates showed that 87.1 per cent of the cohort enrolled in P1 completed, while their counterparts in the 2011/2012 academic year recorded a 91.6 per cent completion rate. At the JHS, completion rates showed a better level of completion between the two comparative years; with the 2011/2012 completion rate of 66.9 per cent being an improvement over that of the 2010/2011 year of 66 per cent.
The Ministry is, however, determined to ensure a further improvement in the coming years.
The Ministry attaches a lot of importance to this area of education. As a demonstration of this, a national workshop on Inclusive Education was organized to re-define the focus of Special Education. An outcome of the national workshop was a decision to mainstream children with non-severe disabilities into the regular schools. This is intended to enhance access to education for the disabled children.
At the Basic level, the number of disabled pupils enroled in regular schools declined at the KG and Primary levels but increased at the JHS. Mainstreamed pupils at the Primary level dropped from 11,035 for 2010/11 to 9,804 for 2011/12. At the JHS level, it increased from 3,814 in 2010/11 to 4,489 in 2011/12. In spite of the progress made, available statistics points to a very high number of disabled children out of school.
The Ministry through the Special Education Division is in the process of finalizing a framework to respond appropriately to vulnerability, exclusion and disability issues since this affects children’s access to basic education.
Currently, a Skills Development Fund which aims at promoting skill needs of formal and informal sectors is being made available through pre-employment initiatives as well as initiatives addressing the needs of continuous skills upgrading.
Under this programme, 5,000 Junior High School graduates have been given training in hairdressing, electronics and electrical installation throughout the country.
Under the informal programme, 1,000 master craftsmen have been trained in areas such as cosmetology, electronics, garment making and auto mechanics. Currently 5000 Junior High School graduates are undertaking training programmes under master craftsmen throughout the country.
We hope to induct additional 8,000 Junior High School graduates into the programme before the end of the year.
COTVET has registered and accredited all Technical Vocational Education and Training providers throughout the country. In addition, the National Technical Vocational Education and Training qualification framework has been drawn up.
As part of efforts to promote technical education in this country, COTVET has procured petrochemical equipment for Kumasi and Takoradi Polytechnic laboratories. . In addition, tools and equipment for oil and gas capacity building have been procured for Kikam Technical Institute, Takoradi Technical Institute and Regional Maritime University.
A study on changing public perception of TVET has been completed in collaboration with the City and Guilds, London. The study is to enable COTVET to adopt a strategy to address the low enrolment of students in TVET sub-sector.
The Bills for the establishment of the University of Health and Allied Science at Ho and Hohoe, and the University of Energy and Natural Resources have been passed. The two universities have been established and will admit their first batch of students in September this year.
Total enrolment including distance learning programmes increased from 211,992 to 254,142. This represents 19% increase in enrolment. Private tertiary enrolment is currently around 30,000.
GETFund allocations to the institutions for infrastructure and faculty development and research increased from approximately Gh¢38,250,000 in 2009 to Gh¢56,405,000 in 2011 whiles internally generated income of the institutions retained by the institutions to supplement government subvention increased from Gh¢106,092,777 to Gh¢190,690,426 in the same year.
A process to build stakeholder consensus towards a sustainable means of funding tertiary education has started.
The first stakeholders meeting was held in 2011. A technical committee is putting up a final draft document for consideration. In order to encourage good and relevant research, the national Council for Tertiary Education has decided to establish a Research Fund which will be sourced through competitive research proposals. The NCTE has in 2012 set aside over Gh¢2,000,000 as seed money for the fund.
One key initiative of Government is the Untrained Teacher’s Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) Programme targeted at untrained teachers to enhance in their capacities. The Government plans to intensify the training of untrained teachers under the Untrained Teachers Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) through Distance Learning. The Ministry is encouraging the GES to enroll all untrained teachers into a 4-year School-Based In-Service programme leading to the award of a Diploma in Basic Education.
This programme for the training of untrained teachers has contributed in accelerating the country’s drive to reduce the number of untrained teachers with the understanding that professionally qualified teachers are a better resource to the educational system, particularly in respect of making progress to meet the goals of Education for All (EFA). Under the programme, 16,439 untrained teachers graduated with Diploma and 6,464 untrained teachers graduated with Certificate A in September 2011.
The upgrading of the 38 Teacher Training Colleges to tertiary level institutions is a move to improve the content of courses offered and to strengthen pedagogy. Related to this is the development of a new teacher professional development policy. This will give teachers the opportunity to engage in continuous learning on the job and enhance competency in their chosen areas as well as in the delivery of lessons. This policy involves the conduct of in-service training programmes in which teachers will earn credits for career promotion and appointments.
The Ghana Education Service has been directed and has accordingly streamlined the implementation of the Study Leave Programme. The system now links study leave to teacher gaps in the delivery system. This study leave system serves the best interest of the child, the teacher and the education system as a whole. In terms of actual study leave approvals, the Ghana Education granted 3,000 teachers study leave to further their education the 2010/11 academic year. The Ministry ensures that beneficiary teachers undertake programmes relevant to the Ghana Education Service and shall strengthen monitoring to ensure their re-integration on completion of their programmes.
The Ministry is aware of these challenges and is determined to address them. Indeed, new modalities for teacher deployment are being developed for discussion and implementation. The GES is in the process engaging a consultant to develop a software that will facilitate equitable deployment of Teachers. The new deployment procedures will promote equity in the distribution of teachers to reduce overlaps that have plagued the education system. Ultimately, the Ministry expects that it will address the challenges currently being encountered, since this places a strain on the sector’s wage-bill. The Ministry hopes that teachers will support the new deployment process in our joint effort to improve education delivery in Ghana.
The Ministry, through the GES introduced The National Literacy Acceleration Programme (NALAP) to enhance public basic pupils acquisition of basic literacy skills. Under this programme, the competency and mastery of learners in literacy will be given a boost through the production and supply of quality literacy materials. The programme also seeks to improve the pedagogical skills of teachers in the teaching of literacy.
The training package under this programme for teachers involves an extensive in-service training in pedagogy, while officials of district education offices will have their monitoring and implementation skills enhanced to ensure that teachers receive the needed support to deliver on the objectives of the programme.
The NALAP targets Kindergarten – Primary 3 learners and it is anticipated that children’s reading, comprehension and writing skills will be improved by the time they reach P3. This strong foundation would subsequently enhance their learning abilities and serve as a springboard to facilitate better performance in other subjects especially mathematics.
Textbooks have been produced in the eleven Ghanaian Languages approved for study in Primary Schools. These languages are Dagbani, Dagaare, Gonja, Kasem, Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Fante, Nzema, Ga, Ewe and Dangme.
As part of this programme the Teaching and Learning Materials Programme (TLMP) will be extended nationwide under which the Service will distribute literacy Teaching and learning materials to all KGs and Lower Primary Schools.
In order to enhance proper assessment of students learning outcomes and improve resource planning, the GES will embark on training programmes for teachers, head teachers, Directors of Education and other stakeholders on the effective use of the results of the School Education Assessment (SEA) and the National Education Assessment (NEA) in the coming year.
In addition, the Act called for the establishment of a National Inspectorate Board, National Teaching Council and a National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. These bodies would take up roles undertaken by GES nationally. The Ministry duly accepted the challenges and initiated projects to draw up the framework for the transfer of decision making over finance and operational issues to the Districts and the new bodies. I can report to you that a decentralized education framework has been developed and the secretariats of the new bodies are in the process of being set-up. The Councils of the new institutions has been set-up and Principal Officers shall be appointed for the bodies to begin full operations.
The Scheme has proved a useful means of promoting access to education by removing one of the key barriers confronting households caught in the poverty trap. These are some of the factors that informed the decision of the NDC Government to increase the allocation from GH¢ 3.00 to GH¢4.50 per pupil per year.
A total amount of fifteen million, two-hundred and forty thousand cedis (Gh¢15,240,000) has been paid as Capitation Grant for the second and third terms of the 2010/11 academic year to Basic Schools across the country. In addition, eight million, seven hundred and forty thousand (Gh¢8,740,000) has been paid as Capitation Grant for the first term of the 2011/12 academic year. I am glad to inform you that all Capitation Grant payments for the 2010/2011 academic year was settled in good time.
Further, the Government paid approximately thirty-nine million cedis (Gh¢39,000,000) as subsidies for second cycle students and Basic Education students for 2012. The amount paid this year covered BECE, feeding and other subsidies for second cycle.
Loan Trust Fund
Consequently, the Government ensured the passage into law of the Student Loan Trust Fund Act (Act 820) in June 2011.Subsequent to this, the Ministry has supported the Students Loans Trust Fund to initiate activities geared towards easy and adequate access to funding by tertiary level students.
As part of initiatives to improve service delivery to clients of the scheme, SLTF introduced a guarantor diversification in 2010 for the benefit of students. The facility enables non-SSNIT contributors to act as guarantors for students’ loan applicants. Through this diversification, district assemblies, corporate bodies and individuals as well as SSNIT contributors will be able to provide guarantees for students. This has essentially removed the difficulties students encountered in obtaining Guarantors for their loans.
Another key initiative under Loan Scheme is the development and implementation of a means testing instrument to enhance the social content of the loan scheme. Under this initiative, the scheme takes into account the individual and family financial situation to determine the loan amount to the students. Unlike the previous scheme where equal amounts was paid to applicants regardless of their background and programme of study, the means testing initiative takes into account the applicant’s true financial needs.
The Non-Formal Education Division will build on the achievements made under the two phases of the National Functional Literacy Project (NFLP) during which it enrolled 1,373,571 learners and over 1,000,000 adult learners respectively.
The Programme is experiencing some challenges but because of Government’s commitment to reducing adult illiteracy the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) will be restructured to make it more responsive to its mandate of coordinating, regulating and implementing with the aim to increase the basic functional literacy, development knowledge and skills for adults and youths, nationally, with particular focus placed on females and the rural poor.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC)
Ghana remains a member of the West African Examinations Council and therefore, the Ministry shall continue with its support to the Council to execute its mandate within Anglophone West Africa. The Council supported the nation’s education reform agenda and conformed to the new curricular developed culminating in the successful conduct of the maiden BECE and WASSCE under the Education Reforms in 2011. Examination Syllabuses were developed for all subjects for BECE. New examination centres were opened in some districts to make the examination more accessible to candidates.
Computerization of WAEC Service/Process
The West African Examination Council has computerized its basic services to improve ease of access by its clients. All candidates – both school and private are now registered electronically. Similarly, candidates can print and check their results on-line.
The Council has also made available to Colleges of Education, Nursing Training Colleges and Polytechnics software for batch verification of results. The on-line version of the software is also available and currently some foreign missions as well as universities in Ghana have subscribed to it. The Ministry wishes to urge other institutions that have not taken advantage of the facility to consider using it.
Ghana Library Authority
The Ministry is doing everything possible for users of the country’s libraries to access information on the World Wide Web. Users of Cape Coast, Accra and Kumasi libraries can now access information on the internet. Networking of the George Padmore Research Lirbary on African Affairs has been completed and users will soon have access to information on the internet.
The Ghana Library Board is collaborating with the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy towards providing ICT training, free internet access and library services for basic school children in the catchments area of the Board.
The Tamale and Kintampo libraries are near completion and when completed will have a computer learning centre.
The National Service Scheme continues to complement the human resource needs of the country especially in the area of education. During the 2011/12 service year, the National Service Scheme deployed a total of 67,313 service personnel countrywide to institutions, departments and agencies. Out the total deployed, 38,814 personnel comprising 33,814 mandatory and 5,000 voluntary personnel were deployed to teach in schools across the country. The total represents 58% of the national service personnel deployed nationwide.
The scheme has seen phenomenal transformation with the assumption of office of the NDC Government. With the support of the Ministry, the current leadership has revamped existing projects and initiated new programmes that support the socio-economic development of the country and impart requisite skills to the personnel. Notable agricultural projects of the scheme include Komenda/Chochoe/Okyereko Agricultural Project in the Central Region, Ejura Agric Project in the Ashanti Region, Branam-Wenchi Agric Project, Anyaboni Agric Project, Sekondi Takoradi Agric Project among other agric projects in the country. The produce from these farms have been sold to the general public. For instance, the Ejura Farms realized a total of 4,500 bags of 50kg of processed maize. This was sold the Ashanti Regional Second Cycle Institutions. In addition, the agric projects has trained 5,000 graduates from our tertiary institutions in practical farming techniques.
Further to the agric projects, the Scheme currently runs a number of income generation ventures. This include borehole drilling which serves to provide portable water to institutions, communities, and domestic users. Another bold initiative of the scheme under this Government is the Medie Water Bottling Plant. The project started in 2009 is about 90% complete. When completed, it is intended to produce sachet and bottled water for sale to the general public.
Ghana Book Development Council
In line with its mandate, the Council organized two Municipal Book Fairs at Nkawkaw and Asamankese to encourage the practice of reading among the populace.
Again, the book fairs are intended to afford local publishers and booksellers the opportunity to show-case their stock of books while forging an atmosphere for interaction among stakeholders and end-users of books. The Ministry will support the Council to mount more book fairs at the Districts to encourage the culture of reading among the populace.
In order to make education delivery, monitoring and evaluation a priority, the Education Act 778 of 2008 prescribed the establishment of an independent Inspectorate Board. The Ministry has appointed a Chief Inspector of Schools to head the secretariat. In addition, a nucleus of staff and other logistics to enable the Board function as required has been provided.
The Board has so far developed quality indicators for evaluating school performance in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders of the education sector. The sector therefore has a validation instrument with quality standards to be enforced in schools. This will be used by the inspection panels of the Board when constituted.
The Board has also held stakeholder consultations with GES, Institute of Educational Planning and Administration at UCC, Ministry of Education, Ghana National Association of Teachers, Ghana National Association of Private Schools, among others on their mandate and has developed quality standards for assessment.
In addition, 672 emergency projects made up of dormitories, dining halls, and administration blocks are at various stages of completion throughout the country.
The NDC Government made a manifesto pledge to provide deprived pupils in basic schools with free school uniforms. This promise was informed by the recognition that cost to schooling remained a significant barrier to education access by pupil from deprived homes. To date, the Ministry of Education has distributed a total of three million (3,000,000) school uniforms to school children all over the country.
Another social protection intervention by the Government since assuming Office is the distribution of free exercise books to pupils in public basic schools. The exercise commenced in 2009 and to date, the GES has distributed a total of fifty-five million, one-hundred and sixteen thousand (55,116,000) exercise books to school children nationwide.
The Ministry has also drawn up plans to supply all Junior High School Teachers throughout the country with lap top computers. Under the initiative, 65,000 Teachers are expected to benefit from the package which takes off before the end of the year.
In our efforts to make secondary education more accessible for our Junior High School graduates, the Ministry plans to establish 200 additional community Senior High Schools throughout the country beginning from the 2013/14 academic year. In addition, with the phasing out of the 4 year Senior High School around the same time, more students will be admitted into the existing Senior High Schools and Technical Institutes.
Thank you for your attention.