Feature Article of Saturday, 3 November 2012
Columnist: Appiah-Osei, Lawrence
The 1992 Constitution of the 4th Republic of Ghana categorizes Education into basic, secondary, tertiary education, and functional literacy. The Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is committed to ensuring the fulfillment of the constitutional obligation to provide Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) under Article 25(1)(a) and Article 38(2). It is equally committed to the progressive introduction of free secondary Education under Article 25(17)(b) The NDC government recognizes that a program for the progressive introduction of Free Secondary education will require an implementation strategy involving concurrent actions on:
1. Expansion of infrastructure and other logistics to enable access for all;
2. Expanding and improving the human resource base by increasing the number of Teacher Training Institutions to improve quality of teaching and learning.
All NDC administrations, conscious of this constitutional obligation, have worked and recorded significant strides in these two areas. The NDC in the next administration beginning in January 2013 will accelerate the process of providing equal access to education by constructing additional Senior High Schools, Vocational and Technical Schools and Teacher Training Colleges as well as expanding existing ones. While the constitution requires basic education to be free, compulsory and universal, 20% of Ghanaian children of school going age presently are not able to go to school either because there is no space or there are no teachers. At the secondary level, only 46% of those who qualify to enter Senior High School, Vocational or Technical Schools are able to gain admission either because there is no space or there are no teachers. Resources for the creation of the space and the provision of teachers at both the basic and second cycle levels therefore are the topmost priorities of the education system. The next NDC Government for 2013 to 2016 will pursue the following programs:
• Promote and strengthen collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Department of Social Welfare in the provision of pre-school and kindergarten education including the training of teachers for the level of education;
• Allocate more resources for the rehabilitation of kindergarten facilities throughout the country to provide the essential resources necessary for the training of children at that level of education;
• Introduce a one-year specialized skills training programs in the various colleges of education for the training of teachers for the Kindergarten and Day Care classes. In the long-term, the NDC will establish special schools in designated Colleges of Education to train and graduate teachers solely on early childhood care and development;
• Construct two hundred (200) new Community Day Senior High Schools across the country with emphasis on districts where there are no such schools;
• Provide capitation grant to all students in new Community Day Senior High Schools to be built by the NDC;
• Provide facilities for students with disabilities to pursue their academic programs effectively;
• Increase the subsidies currently paid to existing secondary schools with a view to reducing the burden on parents;
• Aggressively expand infrastructure including classrooms, dormitories, laboratories and teachers accommodation in existing secondary schools to enable them absorb the increasing numbers of qualified candidates;
• Establish ten (10) new Colleges of Education in the medium term to be located in areas currently not well-served and in anticipation of the increase in student numbers on account of our increased access to education programs;
• Establish a new public University in the Eastern Region to complete the NDC’s vision of providing a public University campus in every region of the country and also to expand academic and residential facilities on existing campuses.
This is the Quality, Affordable and Accessible Educational system that the next NDC government is going to implement as against the Free, Quantity, and Failed Educational system being promised by the NPP. Former President Kuffour’s NPP educational policies created the same problems for the NDC to fix. President Kuffour extended the duration for the school year to four years without creating adequate infrastructure to absorb the “four year” students. There were not enough trained teachers to take care of the “four year” students. These problems created a lot of these schools under trees and inadequate trained teachers in our schools. This is why I humbly ask you to reject the Free, Quantity, and Failed Education the NPP is promising and vote for Quality, Affordable, and Accessible Educational System the NDC will provide to Ghanaians from 2013 to 2016.
“NPP left a big mess for the NDC. They think the NDC is not cleaning it fast enough and so they want to come back and continue with the same mess. Ghana is not going back again. Ghana is moving forward”
NDC USA Finance Secretary