Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition Press Statement

          Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition

Press Statement on Emerging Issues in Pre-Tertiary Education

                               4th March, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition is a network of over 210
Civil Society Organisations working to promote access to quality pre tertiary
public education in Ghana. The Coalition has instituted a quarterly meet the
press series to ensure the general and stakeholder public are informed on
emerging education issues in Ghana that require their attention, action and
support. Todays engagement focuses on four (4) key issues-Education
Privatization, Capitation Grant, the on-going basic school curriculum review
and the Free SHS policy.

Privatisation of Pre-Tertiary Education/Ghana Partnership Schools
Project


A. After participating in the initial planning phase of the GPS project, the
Coalition observes that the GPS project seeks to hand over the
management of low performing public schools to private or non
governmental education management firms and reward them based on
learning outcomes. The Coalition views this as an attempt to comodify
and privitise education using public funds. MoE must apply the brakes
for further consultation and review of the approach.


B. The Coalition is aware of similar projects implemented in other African
countries such as Liberia, Uganda and Kenya where the Partnership
Schools PPPs did not produce the intended outcomes. Rather, whatever
gains were made were marginal in comparison to the investments
made by their governments, which were much higher than what was
going to the regular public schools. Government cannot afford to ignore
this evidence and go ahead to invest in such a venture.


C. There is ample evidence in Liberia that PPPs also succeeded in pushing
excess pupils and under-performing teachers onto other government
schools while retaining the best students and teachers for the purpose
of profit.


D. The experience from these African countries show that this model is not
sustainable as these same private consortiums did not have the means
to sustain the schools without government support. The information
made available so far by the government does not clearly show how
much additional resources these private managers will bring to the
table. In other words, this is just another means of giving public funds
to private actors.


E. GoG has demonstrated tremendous political will to ensure the passage
of the Education Bill into law this year, and implement it immediately. A
major rationale of the new Education Bill is to provide a more efficient
and accountable management of education at the local level through
devolving decision making authority from the GES Headquarters to
District Assemblies and Schools who will now directly manage education
and be held accountable for its outcomes. With such initiatives in the
pipeline, why is GoG in a rush to pilot a GPS project whose aim is
synonymous with the ongoing efforts by government to devolve
education management?

Capitation Grant


F. While commending government for increasing the capitation by more
than 100% within the first two years in office, it is unfortunate the
schools have not received any grant for two academic terms. Public
education of high quality can only be achieved with adequate, timely
funding. Consistently denying public schools resources for management
and supervision while at the same time expecting them to produce
outcomes similar to that of high end private schools is not feasible.
Government (MoFEP, MoE, GES) must ensure funds are released
immediately to schools.

Pre-tertiary Curriculum


G. The Coalition once again notes with regret, the lack of open and broad
consultation on the new pre-tertiary curriculum for kindergarten to
Class 6. As the case has been with other policies, where there is lack of
consultation there are bound to be implementation challenges. We
believe that since the new curriculum is being piloted there is still
opportunity for this consultation to be done. We therefore call on the
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to ensure Civil Society,
especially the Teacher Unions are part of the pilot and other
subsequent plans to operationalise the new curriculum.
Free SHS.


H. We note that students taking visual arts courses in senior high schools
are not adequately catered for under the Free SHS. Eventhough their
course [Jewelry, leatherworks etc] involves a lot of practical work just
like TVET students, they do not receive any support for practical or
technical instruments from government. The high cost of practicals is
affecting the participation of most visual art students in class and has
the tendency of affecting their learning outcomes. This violates the
objectives of the policy and must be reviewed to bring them at par with
TVET students so they can also benefit from technical instruments and
practicals support.


Conclusion


We conclude this statement with the following recommendations:


1. GoG should continue the ongoing legal reforms aimed at decentralizing
education management and ensure decision making and accountability
are devolved to districts and schools with the aim of strengthening
management, supervision and accountability in schools for quality
learning outcomes.


2. If GoG insists that it genuinely wants to document and possibly
replicate successful management practices in the management of
private schools in Ghana, a research can be commissioned in
EXISTING PRIVATE SCHOOLS for that purpose, without necessarily
spending money on a pilot GPS. The Coalition is happy to support
government along this path.


3. GoG must increase investment in public schools to improve supervision
and make public schools more attractive.


4. GoG must immediately clear Capitation Grant arrears and ensure timely
disbursement of grants to improve the quality of education
management and delivery in public basic schools.

5. NCCA must undertake broader stakeholder consultation on the pre-
tertiary curriculum to ensure buy-in for effective implementation

6. MoE must review the funding structure for Visual Arts in Senior High
Schools to ensure Visual Arts students are given practical and technical
instruments support just like TVET students.


We wish to reiterate reiterate our commitment to working with the Ministry of
Education and the GES to ensure quality public pre tertiary education for all
Ghanaians. As Civil Society representatives, we would want to be actively
involved in every stage of finding possible solutions to traditional and
emerging challenges in the education sector i.e. from brainstorming that
leads to collective decision making, through implementation to monitoring.

Thank you


Kofi Asare
Chairman