Regional News of Wednesday, 30 April 2014
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has condemned the practice whereby citizens from the northern parts of the country with Akan names are excluded from the Northern Scholarship Scheme. The scheme was introduced by Ghana’s first President to bridge the South-North gap in the area of education.
The Chairman of PAC, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, at Tuesday’s sitting in Kumasi, said excluding northerners with Akan names from the scheme is discriminatory and must stop.
The criticisms came when the Headteacher of Kedagye Senior High School in the Brong Ahafo Region told the committee many of his students who are of northern extraction could not pay their fees.
“They are identifying them by names such that if you have an Akan name, you will not be given any scholarship. You can’t identify people like that! So I think regional directors of the Ghana Education Service should have a second look at this policy. It is highly unfair. Your name must not deprive you of the benefits that you must have by rights because you have an Ashanti or an Akan name, you can’t benefit even when you are from the North. What is this”?
“The whole point is that, those of us from Brong-Ahafo are worried. You are discriminated against because of names, and also in the northern part of the Volta Region, they are also discriminated against because of names. What kind of policy is this? Why don’t they look at birth certificates and parents instead of names? Everywhere in Ghana, even Sunyani; I know there are some young northerners in some parts of Ashanti Region like Adwira area, Sekyere Bonase and Mampong Offinso, who bear Akan names. Should they not enjoy the scholarships because of their names”?
A Ranking Member of the Committee, Ibrahim Dey Abubakari, also condemned what he says is the unwillingness of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to punish teachers for the various offenses they commit.
He also condemned the transfer of teachers to other schools as a form of punishment for the offenses they have committed elsewhere.
“Throughout our cities from Upper East, Upper West, and the North; and through general interactions, I have realized that the Ghana Education Service has one very problem which is their unwillingness to punish people who are corrupt. How do you expect us to be able to tackle the indiscipline within the system if you refuse to punish. It’s becoming a deep worry to the government because consistently if we should go back to several issues within the GES, teachers for instance are simply not being punished for any wrong that they do; why” he questioned?
The committee’s work started in Kumasi on Monday to consider the Auditor –General’s reports on the public accounts of Senior High Schools for the 2010-2011 academic years for the northern zone.