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General News of Sunday, 24 July 2016

Source: GNA

Major reforms needed in the education sector - Prof Aryeetey

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, has said major reforms are needed in the educational sector before it could meet the stated objectives of quality delivery and access to all.

He said we need reforms the Ghana Education Service (GES); we need to carefully scrutinize the activities of private universities; more so the GES as the regulator cannot continue to be the manager in the education sector- “this has hindered progress in the educational sector”.

Professor Aryeetey, who said this over the weekend at NDK Financial Services Limited’s 25th Anniversary lecture and CSR Foundation Launch, was speaking on the topic: “The politics of educational reforms in Ghana”.

He said it has been quite documented that many are dissatisfied with the quality of education provided from tertiary to the primary level and this led to the establishment of various committees like the Dzobo Committee (1974) and the Anamua-Mensah Committee (2003).

Professor Aryeetey said both Committees were formed because of the general belief that our schools were producing people whose backgrounds were not relevant to the needs of the nation.

He said the GES is not well resourced enough to run schools effectively and as a result of this, innovations and effective decision making in schools has been a challenge as the schools need to look for funds to improve their predicament.

Professor Aryeetey said there is no reason why proactive school boards can’t take basic decisions on their teachers or pupils; and why should innovative headmasters get sanctioned for looking for resources for their schools?

He said the myriad of problems besetting the primary sector for instance includes absence of basic logistics - inadequate books, chalks etc; hungry kids, parents not committed to the education of their children, the issue of many female teachers being traders and many male teachers absenting themselves several times a week etc.

Professor Aryeetey said in the private tertiary sector their main concerns are linked to money- the struggle to pay salaries of lecturers, dwindling student population etc.

He said a consultative forum should be created to make or decide on major decisions pertaining to education.

Professor Aryeetey said such a consultative forum (independent of the GES and government) would help reduce the recurrent changes in the duration of the Senior Secondary System; ascertain the validity of changing the polytechnics into technical universities; and help solve other emergent needs in the sector.

He said a wider open discussion is needed in the education sector and this should include the private sector whose participation in the tertiary sector is necessary but must be carefully regulated.

Professor Aryeetey expressed his gratitude to NDK for their laudable initiative of establishing the CSR Foundation to cater for concerns in health, education and sports.

Mr Anis Haffar, the Chairman for the occasion, said we need to focus on work and encourage people to work even as they go to school.

He said our universities should not only generate ideas but should equally turn them into useful components of workable solutions for our societal concerns.

Dr Ellen Bortei Doku Aryeetey, the Head of the CSR Foundation, congratulated NDK for chalking 25 years and contributing to the growth of many entrepreneurs.

She expressed gratitude for being nominated to head the NDK’s CSR Foundation adding that she and her colleagues on the board would ensure that the objectives and the expectations of the initiative would be met.

The NDK- CSR Foundation is to help identify viable programmes and projects for assistance and these include helping to provide scholarships to needy but brilliant students; helping to meet specific health needs of identified individuals; and helping in the development of sports infrastructure.