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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Columnist: Aliu, Zuberu

Depoliticise the Ghana Education Service

The politics in the Ghana Education Service-G.E.S has grown out of proportion and this is impacting negatively on the delivery of quality education.

Almost all stakeholders; NGOs, teachers, parents, students and the GES have lost control over developments in the education sector. It appears only the political class has unfettered control over the management of education in Ghana. And this certainly is a source of worry.

Political participation in education in Ghana is not bad especially when the political appointees are deeply involved in policy proposals. However, institutions particularly the GES which should stand firm on issues affecting the delivery of quality education in the country appears to be dancing to the tunes of the politician.

The media war between CHASS and the government in recent time represents the voiceless in matters relating to education. The CHASS raised concerns which in the opinion of many people were genuine. CHASS talked about government failure to pay feeding grants, subventions, disbursement of the component in the progressively free education and other important issues.

All these issues are easy for anyone to verify. It is important to note that headmasters are no more trusted by suppliers making it difficult for the schools to feed their students.

Aside the challenge with feeding, the schools find it challenging to bear all administrative cost. Utility bills and stationery cost have become thorns for the headmasters. Some of the schools even now cannot fuel their vehicles. All these definitely affect the delivery of quality education in the country.

The GES response to the press conference organized by CHASS is so disappointing. It exposes the political manipulation and the lack of leadership in the Ghana Education Service. What taboo has CHASS commits to deserve all the threats by the GES? Is the GES pretending that it’s not aware of government lackadaisical attitude towards the challenges confronting education in the country? How long must CHASS continue to take the many broken promises from the government?

Ideally, the GES should be at the forefront in taking government to task. If it reneges on this and CHASS is left with no alternative but to cry for help, political threats to the headmasters must not be the solution. It is not the responsibility of the CHASS to know that government have settled all payments to the secondary schools. If it’s true that such payments are settled, why have both the government and GES failed to communicate it to the headmasters?

Two important issues need the attention of all Ghanaians. Firstly, the headmasters in the Northern region agreed and opened the schools in solidarity with the president who is a Northerner. Secondly, headmasters in the three Northern regions were threatened to hand over their keys if they fail to reopen the schools.

The time to depoliticize the GES is now. Why on earth will the GES doubt information provided by CHASS? The GES should not be pretending to know the situation more than the headmasters; after all, it’s the headmasters who are on the ground. The GES must be told that the wrangling between CHASS and government over the non-payment of feeding grants did not start on the day that CHASS held its press conference.

The GES must admit that it has fail woefully as managers of the service and must stop its threat to the teachers. GNAT, NAGRAT and all teacher unions must rise to the occasion and shouldn’t allow the failed GES to infest them with its incompetent management skills. Political manipulation of the GES is not good for our country.