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Parliament approves £77 million loan facility to improve Education sector

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Parliament has adopted Education Committee report to give an approval to a Contract Agreement between the Government of Ghana (represented by the Ministry of Education) and Itec Global of the United Kingdom for an amount of Seventy-Six Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty-Two Pounds sterling and Fifteen Pence (£76,920,562.15) for the Supply and Installation of Educational Equipment and Training in Basic Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (BSTEM).

The Project seeks to provide all 38,715 Junior High Schools (JHSs), Primary Schools and Kindergarten Schools with science and mathematics equipment, to also train 19,810 teachers (9,905 science and 9,905 mathematics teachers), 14,665 primary teachers and 14, 145 Kindergarten teachers within the basic education curriculum.

The specific objectives of the Project are as follows: Improving the pedagogy of teaching of science and maths education of all basic education, introducing engineering and technology education and effective pedagogy into the basic education curriculum, increasing the accessibility of modern teaching methods within BSTEM education to all students and teachers and to the fear of teaching and learning mathematics at the basic education level.

The rest are: Introducing an investigative and inquiry-based approach to BSTEM teaching, in line with international best practice in the Ghanaian curriculum, providing a kit of effective BSTEM equipment matched to the curriculum at each educational level, ensuring that the Project supports the Ministry of Education’s other programmes to improve the teaching of BSTEM such as Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) and Girls Participatory Approaches to Students Success (G-PASS) and providing resources including open education resources to support and enhance the current textbooks in BSTEM.

BACKGROUND:

The Government of Ghana, has over the years tried to expand access to basic education for all children through the commitments of programmes such as the Education for All, and the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE).

Some significant progress has been made with enrolments increasing substantially through the introduction of the Capitation Grant, School Feeding, Free School Uniform and the Free Text and Exercise Books programmes.

The 2012 Educational Sector Review Report supports this assertion by indicating that actual enrolment expenditure has increased.

In spite of the increased enrolment, the quality of education in basic schools continues to be of grave concern to the Ministry of Education and the country as a whole.

The education sector is still confronted with several challenges in terms of performance and learning outcomes.

For instance, results of Early Grade Reading Assessment between 20 13 and 20 15 indicate that just 2% of Primary 2 pupils were able to read at an appropriate grade level.

The 2015 Early Grade Mathematics Assessment also indicates that higher order mathematical concepts were a challenge.

75% of Primary 2 pupils were unable to answer a single conceptual knowledge subtask (word problem) correctly.

At the secondary level, learning outcomes are also low.

Only 33% of students passed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in mathematics in 2017.

Story by Edzorna Francis Mensah

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