The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, says government, will continue with its bold resolve to transform the Education sector and prepare the Ghanaian child to compete with the best globally.
He, therefore, called on the relevant stakeholders to offer practical suggestions for innovations that could be adopted to bring about necessary changes and results for the education sector.
He said without such change in approaches and new ways of working, the risk of inertia and bureaucracies in the education service will continue, where limitations were recognized in their traditional approaches, but finding themselves unable to react with sufficient forcefulness and purpose to alter outcomes.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh said this at the opening of a stakeholder engagement in Accra on Tuesday, to mark the second National Education Week (NEW).
He said the annual event, which offered stakeholders the platform to assess sector performance and make recommendations for improvement, has become critical to effective policy and strategy decision making of the Ministry.
The four-day event on the theme: “Reforming the Education Sector for Effective Service Delivery: Embracing Innovations,” brings focus to the reform agenda, and highlight the importance of innovative and creative ways of working in the education sector.
It also signals the Ministry’s intention to work with stakeholders in adapting proven measures that would accelerate the pace of progress in the education sector.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh said “as a sector, we have developed the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2018-2030) as a guide to help in our effort to attain SDG 4.”
Giving a brief history of events, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said it all started in 2017 with the resolve to pursue bold and transformative measures to address challenges that had hindered progress of the Education sector for many years.
“We were convinced that those difficult decisions were critical to make access to education equitable and improve quality across the board,” he said.
He cited the increase in the Capitation Grant amount from GHS4.5 per student per year to GHS10.0 per student per year for 2017/18 academic year, saying the 122 per cent upsurge in per capita Capitation Grant, was expected to remove cost barriers to free access and provide schools with minimum amount of funds required to keep schools running.
Again, within the period under review, Kindergarten to Primary curriculum was completed, and roll-out was set to commence in September when the 2019/2020 academic year starts, he said.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh said with the revised curricular, emphasis has been placed on the acquisition of foundational reading, writing, arithmetic and creativity skills, explaining that ahead of the implementation, all the necessary teaching and learning materials have been developed and training of teachers for delivery were currently ongoing across the country.
He said at the Secondary level, there was evidence that cost barriers constrained access and effective participation for many eligible students with indications showing that every year, an average of 100,000 Junior High School (JHS) graduates who qualified and were placed in public Senior High Schools (SHS) failed to enroll.
“We boldly confronted the challenge and rolled out Free SHS in 2017, essentially removing cost barriers to secondary education. The response been a phenomenal increase in Secondary level enrolment”.
He said significantly, the percentage of students placed that fail to enroll had declined from 27 per cent (111,336 students) of all students placed in 2016 to 11 per cent (53,107 students) of all students placed in 2018.
The Minister also touched on the fact that within the period, teacher training curriculum has been revised to adequately equip them for the delivery of the national curriculum, and further upgraded pre-service teacher training from a 3-year Diploma in Basic Education to a 4-year Bachelor of Education Degree Programme
He said to facilitate this, our Colleges of Education have been affiliated to various public Universities and in addition, specializations have been introduced, hence, teachers would now specialize to teach at Kindergartens and specific subjects at the Basic level.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh used the occasion to launch the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2018-2030) and urged every stakeholder in the spirit of collaboration, to make an effort to work within the framework of the ESP, and build effective partnerships with the Ministry and others, to complement each other’s effort towards the attainment of the ESP targets.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Benjamin Kofi Gyasi, gave highlights on the progress made on the key recommendations made at the 2018 NEW, saying significant progress had been made in the area of policy.
However, to ensure that well-intentioned policy goals translated into improve learning outcomes, decision makers eager to learn about interventions and innovative practices that have proven to work; use such evidence and innovative solutions to improve planning and education services delivery.
He said by discussing the progress made over the past year, sharing evidence on what works, and discussing gaps in effective service delivery would lay the foundation for further detailed discussions of actions needed in key areas.