Education Campaign Coalition evaluates manifestoes

The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has stated that the 2016 manifesto promise of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to reinstate the allowances of teacher trainees will be inimical to access to teacher education and the quest to bridge the gap in teacher demand.

According to the group, the decision to scrap the allowances was taken after a wider consultation with key stakeholders in education in the interest of the nation and that if there was any need to reverse it, a national process, involving all the key actors, ought to be initiated.“When the teacher trainee allowances were in place, there was the quota system of admission that made it difficult for more students to be admitted to the colleges of education because the government spent more than $50 million annually on such payments. Hence, just some 8,000 teacher trainees were enrolled in all the 38 CoE.
“If any political party wants to reintroduce the allowance, there should be broader national discourse, taking into consideration the economic situation of the country and the opportunities it presents,” the group observed.

The GNECC report

The observation was made at the launch of a report by the GNECC on promises made by political parties on the education sector in Accra yesterday.

The report, dubbed “Civil Society Evaluation of Electoral Promises under Education: Achievements, Challenges and Way Forward,” assessed the manifesto promises made by the two major political parties in this year’s election, the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The report further highlighted the promises made by the ruling party in 2012 in the education sector and how far those promises have been achieved.

Other political parties were not factored in the report because they were not contesting this year’s polls, while the Convention People’s  Party (CPP) and the independent candidate, Mr Joseph Osei Yeboah, are also yet to launch their manifestoes.

The report sought to link the promises made in education with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Africa Union (AU) Agenda 2063, and the national policy document that detailed the educational strategic plan.

Contextual relevance, practicability, measurability and compliance with the SDGs and other development goals were key in assessing the promises.

Government performance

Presenting the details of the report, the chairman of the GNECC, Mr Bright Appiah, said most of the promises made by the NDC in the 2012 elections, especially in the area of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) had been largely achieved.

He added that the performance of the ruling government in the educational sector in areas relating to early childhood education, basic education, second cycle education, and teacher education was remarkable, but was quick to add that there  were some lapses in the implementation of some policies.

Mr Appiah observed that social intervention programmes in education such as the School Feeding Programme (SFP), School Capitation Grant (SCG), free school uniforms and exercise books that were either introduced or scaled up within the four years had greater impact on education, especially at the basic level.

The report further indicated that the government did well in the elimination of schools under trees and the shift system, adding that more needed to be done to completely remove those barriers to education.

The initiatives by the government to reduce the number of untrained teachers in basic schools through the Untrained Teachers Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) was also described as largely successful.

NDC manifesto of 2016

According to the report, the 2016 manifesto of the NDC made room for the continuity of some policies that could not be achieved within the four years, a development, the report said was a good step towards sustaining and transforming education.

However, the report said the promise made by the NDC to build 200 community senior high schools (CSHSs) in four years was too ambitious, adding that the party failed to take into consideration the economic challenges.

“As we speak, we are only 49 days away from this year’s elections, but only 11 of such schools have been inaugurated with a total of 123 at various stages of completion. The SCG has also not been properly reviewed to meet the current economic situation.

“When you look at the SFP too, about 1.7 million pupils are benefiting. It is an improvement but we still have some 2.2 million pupils to be captured.

NPP manifesto

On the 2016 NPP manifesto, the report said the promise to commit more of the oil revenue to education for the next four years was a good promise.

Other promises on the reintroduction of Physical Education (PE) in schools, fostering partnerships with faith-based organisations (FBOs), and making French compulsory at the basic level, were good policies that could improve education if properly implemented.

The report, however, questioned what the NPP meant by redefining basic education to include TVET and SHS, saying that there were ambiguities in terms of the modalities.

The report recommended that there ought to be coherence in the promises political parties make and how those promises would help in the national development agenda.

“Well coordinated and structured systems ought to be put in place to ensure that persons with disability (PWDs) are included in education planning,” the report suggested.

Source: ALIVE GHANA NEWS