Feature Article of Sunday, 16 December 2012
Columnist: Obeng, Raymond
: What The Mahama-Led Government Needs To Do
By: Raymond Obeng, CEMPA Graduate, KNUST, Ghana.
Education is fundamental to enhancing the quality of human life and ensuring social and economic progress (United Nation’s Report on the World Social Situation, 1997). No society can be said to be flourishing and progressive if greater part of its citizens are poor and miserable (Adams Smith, 1976). Widespread abject poverty creates conditions in which the poor have no access to credit, are unable to finance the children’s education, and, in the absence of physical or monetary investment opportunities, have many children as a source of old-age financial security (Tadano and Smith, 2006). Education is the basic objective of development; it is an important end in itself. It is very vital for a satisfying and rewarding life. It is a means by which human dignity is restored. According to Ostergaard (1985), ‘education is a means of overcoming poverty, increasing income, improving nutrition and health, reducing family size and not the least important, raising people’s self-confidence and enriching the quality of their lives’. This supports the fact that education is unarguably the key to a successful life, and that is why the Government of Ghana is doing its best to ensure that school- going children have access to free and quality education in the country.
Cost of education has been identified to constitute a significant proportion of the income of most people in Ghana whose daily lives are visited by abject poverty. Taking giant steps to bring economic recovery to its citizens through education, the Government of Ghana has taken the burden off parents through the implementation of the capitation grant policy. Researchers are doing their best to determine the perception of stakeholders of education at the basic level, identify the challenges confronting the implementation of the policy and to determine the impact of the grant on education. Conducting quantitative and qualitative analyses, we discover that particular interest by government should also be geared towards increases in enrolment, teaching-learning materials and teacher-learner ratios, and improvement in physical infrastructure in our schools.
The studies so far made in this field indicate that the impact of the intervention on education has been large. Meanwhile, the policy has been visited with so many impediments. Among the crippling factors confronting the implementation of the policy are the delay in the release of the grant, misuse of funds by some heads of institutions, increasing workload on implementers, lack of transparency and poor book keeping skills and knowledge in financial accounting.
The Ghana Government, therefore, needs to increase the number of teachers to match the enrolment of school children and hence increase the teacher-learner ratio. Indeed, increasing teacher-learner ratio without improving physical infrastructure in the schools has a great capability to harm the quality of education in Ghana as a whole. To ensure quality in the education sector, there should be checks on heads of institutions, and removal of mock and extra classes fees. The Government needs also to increase the grant, and set up adult teams to put administrators on their toes so that they well monitored to produce required results. The Mahama- led Government should always priotise sanctioning and penalising corrupt heads of institutions appropriately. This will go a long way to ensure that our school children who are the constitutional beneficiaries of the grant will have a meaningful life in future.