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General News of Friday, 14 March 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Ghana not reaping full value of education investment — Coalition

The country is not reaping the full value of the huge investment it is making in the educational sector, the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has stated.

It said total government spending on education rose from GH¢503 million to GH¢1.7 billion between 2003 and 2011.

That figure, it said, represented 18 to 27 percent of public expenditure.

At a news conference organised by the GNECC in Accra, the Executive Council Chairman of GNECC, Mr. Bright Appiah, noted that the seemingly high levels of funding had not been commensurate with the outcomes of education.

He said while the education sector still required more budgetary support, “we are much more concerned with the challenge of leakages in the distribution and utilisation of education resources in the sector.”

He queried the justification for spending more than 90 per of government’s money on salaries in the educational sector and other personnel costs when there were still large numbers of ghost names on the sector’s payroll, with hoards of newly recruited teachers having to wait for as long as a year in most cases to receive their first salaries.

Mr. Appiah noted that the system for procurement and distribution of educational materials had also not been efficient.

“For instance, several public basic schools, especially those in rural and remote areas, very often receive teaching and learning materials very late, sometimes after the first term. Capitation grants and other school grants have still not been disbursed,” he pointed out.

He said in 2010, a study conducted by the GNECC on textbook distribution revealed that nearly 30 per of English textbooks did not reach the schools from the districts.

Mr. Appiah, who is also the Executive Director of Child Rights International, while commending the government for taking steps to address some of the challenges in the education sector, “particularly its current efforts to rationalise teacher distribution and reduce teacher absenteeism,” was worried that the processes were being implemented without any assurance as to whether the system for identifying vacancies and postings had been improved to guarantee equitable distribution of both numbers and quality of teachers.

Mr. Appiah cautioned that issues on education in the country should be handled collectively, devoid of partisan politics.

He believed that was required, “if we are to reverse the seemingly free fall of quality levels in the education sector.”

“The coalition wishes to call the attention of all stakeholders in education, particularly politicians, that it is important that we depoliticise our efforts at improving quality and access to education in the country,” he emphasised.

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