Government Urged To Address Institutional Challenges In Education Sector

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Mar 282017

Image result for ghana government buildingMr Mustapha Maison Yeboah, Executive Director of the Centre of Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), a civil society organization, has called on government to address institutional challenges that could impede the implementation of the free Senior High School education programme.

He said there was a strong commitment on policies such as capitation grants, textbook provision, school-feeding programmes, among other interventions, to improve on quality education at the basic level but institutional challenges remained huge impediment.

Mr Yeboah observed that until such bottlenecks in the education sector were addressed, there was no way the free senior high school education and other policies designed by the government could make any meaningful impact on the country’s educational system.

He was speaking at a sensitisation campaign on the “I am Aware Project”, a non-partisan citizen empowerment tool that collects, analyses, archives and disseminates user-friendly socio economic data on the state of public goods and service delivery in country at Babiani in the Nkoranza Municipality of Brong-Ahafo Region.

The second phase of the four-year project, being implemented by COPIO in the Techiman and Nkoranza Municipalities and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in the United States through the Centrefor Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is expected to end by the close of the year.

It is aimed at empowering citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to improve their awareness and engagement with duty-bearers about public service delivery in order to make them more accountable and responsive.

Mr Yeboah observed that several challenges would emanate when the full implementation of the free senior high school education commenced and indicated the need for the government ensured transparency in resource disbursement, and efficiency in resource allocation.

He lauded the government’s commitment to implement the programme saying the policy would enable the poor and vulnerable to easily access high quality education services and improved learning outcomes.

Mrs Patricia Duodu, the Nkoranza Municipal Deputy Coordinator of Girl Child Education indicated that girl child education had witnessed some improvements over the years noting that out of the 15,150 pupils recorded in the 2013|2014 academic year 7,385 were girls.

That notwithstanding, she said inadequate resources, enrolment and retention rates remained a challenge in the municipality.

Mrs Duodu advised parents and guardians to place priority on girl-child education by investing much of their resources into the education of the children and wards.

She also called for effective collaboration between teachers, parents and school management committees to improve on the academic performance of students.

On sanitation, Mr Collins Sekyi, field officer of COPIO, noted that effective waste management and access to improved sanitation services remained a huge national challenge.

He observed that though Ghana had a National Environmental Sanitation Strategy, the country failed to achieve set target for water and sanitation under the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Sekyi stressed the urgent need for key players in the sanitation sector to re-focus and evaluate the sector’s key policy objectives, improve accountability and investment outcomes as well.

Source: GNA

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Mar 282017

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that achieving excellence in girls’ education is a must if the country is to shed off the evils of poverty, ignorance and disease, and put onto the path of progress and prosperity.

According to President Akufo-Addo, several studies conducted across the world have indicated that investing in girls’ education is arguably the most effective measure any developing nation can employ to improve its standard of living.

He also indicated research has proven that educating girls produces considerable social and welfare benefits, such as lower infant mortality and fertility rates, adding that “the mother’s level of education has a direct influence on economic productivity of both her family and the nation.”

Education, the President said, is the key to the development of Ghana and her democracy, and stressed that “my government, therefore, regards education as a public good to which our youth, in particular our girls, must have unfettered access.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, March 25, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 90th anniversary celebration of Krobo Girls’ School, at Odumase Krobo, on the theme “Achieving Excellence in Girls’ Education: The role of Stakeholders.”

To buttress his point, he referenced a statement made by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, who stated that “No development strategy is better than one that involves women as central players. It has immediate benefits for nutrition, health, savings, and reinvestment at the family, community, and ultimately, country level.

In other words, educating girls is a social development policy that works. It is a long-term investment that yields an exceptionally high return…. We need those with power to change things to come together in an alliance for girls’ education: governments, voluntary progressive groups, and above all, local communities, schools, and families.”

The President noted, therefore, that political leaders, teachers, parents, communities and students have a major stake in ensuring that “we achieve excellence in our educational system, and by extension excellence in the education of the girl-child.”

As a stakeholder in the country’s educational system, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government has committed itself “to using the proceeds from our natural resources, as captured in the ‘Asempa Budget’, to help educate the population to drive our economic transformation.

Instead of the revenues from our mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, I am of the firm belief that the most equitable and progressive way of using these revenues is to educate and empower our population. It is for this reason that my government has indicated that it will fund the cost of Senior High School for all, beginning with the intake of the 2017/2018 academic year.”

Free SHS, he reiterated, will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level, as the policy will ensure that “more and more of our girls get access to affordable and quality education, which will, in turn, speed up the development of our country.”

In order to drive his government’s industrialisation agenda, President Akufo-Addo revealed that his government has placed emphasis on Science and Technology education and Technical and Vocational training, assuring further that technical education will be put in its proper, relevant place.

“For us to make a success of our education policy, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy. Government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo also assured that his government will facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as provide special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations.

To parents, the President stressed that their involvement in their children’s education is a significant factor in their educational success and school improvement, because it is from parents that children learn about their culture, values, and language.

“Parents play a very important role in their children’s education in and out of the classroom. That is why parents need to take on the challenge and provide their girl child the tools they will need in order to be successful in school and life,” he added.

In commemoration of the school’s 90th anniversary celebration, President Akufo-Addo tasked the Minister for Education, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who was also present at the ceremony, to see to the construction of an 18-unit classroom block, a request that was placed before government by the Headmistress of Krobo Girls.


Newmont Women Encourage Girls To Take Up Engineering

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Mar 142017

The low numbers of females in science, technology, engineering and math continues to be a challenge and exposing young women to successful role models in the field could be one way of encouraging more women to take up STEM courses in school.

So for the three of Newmont Ghana’s female engineers who have mentored and empowered young ladies at junior and senior high school levels to enroll in science, technology and engineering disciplines, sharing their experiences and engaging with them “certainly sparked up their interest and encouraged scores of them to take up careers in science and engineering”.

These three female engineers enlightened over a thousand female students at the Women in Engineering (WINE) Conference in the Ashanti region, about the vast career opportunities for women in science and engineering fields.

Gertrude Eshun, a Mine Geologist, Elizabeth Hazel, an IT engineer and Mandy Lokko a Processing Engineer shared their academic and professional experiences with the students, correcting their widely-held perceptions that engineering is a preserve of men.

The female engineering trio was joined by other female engineers and officials from the Ghana Navy, Airforce, Electricity Company of Ghana and Tullow Ghana to connect and expose the young ladies to women in male-dominated careers.

The conference is an initiative by the Women in Engineering network of the Ghana Institution of Engineers in collaboration with Newmont Akyem’s Women and Allies Business Resource Group to promote science and engineering careers among girls, in order to narrow the gender gap and increase representation of females in the sector.

Based on theme ‘Women in Engineering, There is Room for Everyone,’ the conference held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology forms part of an ongoing high school outreach programme to create awareness and raise the profile of the science and engineering industry among young ladies.

As part of its Global Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, Newmont is committed to increasing the representation of women in all areas of its mining operation and has established the Women and Allies (W&A) to drive this goal through professional development and by building a more inclusive workplace culture.

After the presentations, the young ladies split up into groups where each group was assigned an engineer to counsel and answer all their questions about pursuing a career in science and engineering.

The students opened up about challenges they faced including lack of support from family, stereotypes and perceptions about engineering careers. The female engineers engaged the teaching staff and charged them to offer immense support to girls with interest and potential for science and engineering.

The low numbers of women in science and engineering is a global issue as women are grossly under-represented in the industry.

“The excitement and interest the young ladies showed, especially during the mentoring break-out sessions were extremely encouraging,” Elizabeth Hazel, I.T specialist with Newmont Ghana, said. “Our interactions with them have certainly sparked up their interest and encouraged scores of them to take up careers in science and engineering. For many of them, until today, they had believed engineering was a domain for men. ”

Elizabeth believes that more engagement and mentoring of young girls with passion, ability and interest to take up careers in science and engineering are critical to changing the current phenomenon. “Newmont Women and Allies Group encourages more of such interventions to attract, develop and nurture the next generation of women engineers because they are instrumental to reducing the female deficit in the sector.”


2016 WASSCE: Over 2,000 Candidates Cheated

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Mar 142017

Very Reverend Dr Sam Nii Nmai Ollennu, the Head of West African Examination Council, National Head Office, has said that 2, 293 candidates cheated in last year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

He said with the aid of the new anti-malpractice software, Item Differentia Profile (IDP), developed by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), candidates who were identified to have cheated in the core subjects namely English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science also had their relevant subject results cancelled.

“In spite of the interactions with candidates during our sensitization programmes and engagement with stakeholders, quite a number of malpractices were recorded in the 2016 WASSCE.

“Consequently, for the 2016 WASSCE for school candidates, 11,277 candidates lost various subject results, whilst 647 candidates had their entire results cancelled,” Rev Ollennu made the observation at the 2016 WASSCE Distinction Awards held in Accra on Thursday.

The WASSCE Distinction Awards is a scheme on the WAEC calendar that honours candidates who obtain a minimum of grade eight A1’s in every year’s WASSCE.

Rev Ollennu therefore appealed to supervisors and invigilators to be more vigilant going forward.

“We wish to pledge that we will put in all the necessary arrangements to ensure the examinations are conducted successfully.

“We wish to affirm our commitment to the fight against examination malpractices in general and the conduct of leakage-free examination in particular,” he said.

According to Rev Ollennu, an analysis of the results for the 2016 WASSCE for school candidates indicated that candidates performed better in all the core subjects during the examination than they did in 2015.

He, however, revealed that based on the Chief Examiners report, Ghanaian students performed poorly at trigonometry, geometry, logarithm and story questions in Mathematics adding that “Yet no efforts seem to be directed at improving the situation until recently when the Ministry held seminars for teachers of least performing schools,” he said.

For the awards winners for the various programme, Ms Sedinam Adwoa Botwe, of the Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast won a cedi equivalent to 400 dollars from the Ghana National Office of WAEC, a laptop, a certificate and a plaque for her school for being the best General Arts Student, while Ms Domuah Ailleen of Akosombo International School received the same prizes for being the best Business student with Master Kpodo Courage of Anglican Senior High School receiving similar awards respectively after excelling as the best visual Arts Student.

Master Pius Kyere, formerly of St James Seminary Senior High School was adjudged the overall best student in Ghana.

For his prize, Master Kyere smiled home with 600 dollars from the WACE endowment fund, 400 dollars for being the overall General Science student, a full scholarship through tertiary education from Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), a personal account by UMB, a cash prize of GH¢ 2,000 from Mr Dares Mills, the Member of Parliament for Berekum, a laptop from UMB, certificate and a plaque for his school.

Taking the second overall best student award in Ghana, Master Benjamin Bortey Sango, formerly of Accra Academy Senior High School, received 500 dollars from the WAEC endowment fund, GHC 200 cash prize and GHC 300 investment amount from First Banc, a laptop from UMB and a plaque for his school.

The overall third prize winner, Master Richmond Kwame Mensah, a former student of St James Seminary Senior High School received 1,000 dollars and a laptop from BOND.

Meanwhile, two candidates who were awarded would take international awards in Nigeria.

Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Education, lauding WAEC for the initiative said it was in line with government’s objective of shifting focus of education from merely students passing exams to being citizens who could think critically and compete with their counterparts over the World.

He urged the awardees to continue to work hard as they had done previously.

“Strife to work harder and continue to improve as candidates do not need to engage in malpractices or cut corners to excel,” he advised.

Dr Opoku Prempeh pledged of the ministry’s assistance to put in resources that would improve the sector.

The sector minister commended teachers, parents, school heads of awardees for being the source of inspiration to the young ones.

He expressed the expectation that more students would receive more of such award going forward taking into consideration the massive investment government had been doing in the private sector.

Bemoaning the rate at which examination malpractices continued to be a setback befalling WAEC over the years, called on stakeholders to collaborate with the council for its goal of establishment to be met.

Some of the awardees who spoke to the Ghana News Agency expressed happiness at their recognition, thanked their parents and teachers for their support and called on other students to make hay whiles the sun shines by marrying their books and giving birth to success.

Last year’s WASSCE was conducted for 274,262 candidates. This number consisted of 141,524 males and 132,738 females.

The total number was an increase of two per cent over the 2015 candidature of 268,812.

Three hundred and forty-four candidates out the number that sat for the 2016 examination met the criterion for the awards, that is to say 344 candidates obtained eight grade A1’s.

The candidates were from 887 schools and included 58 visually-impaired candidates.

Source: GNA

‘Pay More Attention To Reading, Debating Lessons’

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Mar 142017

Image result for educational minister ghanaThe Minister of Education Dr. Matthew Opoku- Prempeh has advised students to pay more attention to reading and debating lessons.

This he said would help ensure that they do not only become good students but also bright in their utterances and speeches in the future.

Dr. Opoku -Prempeh made this known at the 20th Inter-Senior High Schools debate grand finale held at the Ghana National Association of Teachers Hall in Accra.

The debate between the Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology (KNUST) Senior High School and Pope John Senior High School was on the topic “Mobilising for Ghana’s Future: The youth are key stakeholders in National Development.”

Dr. Opoku Prempeh noted that reading and debating was one of the subjects that must not be taken for granted by Senior High School students.

“Reading is an important tool that must not be relegated because its benefits are enormous to the extent of shaping your future as a student,” he added.

He added that the government was mobilising the youth in all spheres of life to meet the growing needs of the nation since the future belongs to them.

On his part, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Education, Dr. Peter Attafuah said students must take advantage of the current educational system which had the capacity of shaping them for a bright future.

Dr. Attafuah said students must engage in more reading and debating to sharpen their skills in the English Language subject.

“Students must engage their teachers more in acquiring more knowledge in the reading and debating curriculum to enhance their capabilities of drafting their own speeches in the future,” he added.

The winners for the debate, KNUST Senior High School took home a flat screen TV and a laptop each to all participants of the debate.

Agnes Pokuah Safo, a participant and student from KNUST Senior High School advised fellow students not to take their studies for granted but to step-up their studies since the sky is the limit.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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Feb 282017

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Feeding Grant Challenge Threatens Peace

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Jan 232017

The Chairman of the Northern Regional Branch of Parents & Teachers Association (PTA) of second cycle institutions, Alhaji Abdul Malik Salifu Husseini has indicated that failure by government to settle the outstanding two terms feeding grant could cause riot in schools in the Northern Region.
Reports indicate that government had released funds to the various second cycle instructions to settle one out of the three terms feeding grants.
According to him, there were fears made at the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) executive meeting that if the outstanding two terms feeding grants is not paid and the schools run out of food, the students might riot because there is no food to feed them.
“If the students are not fed the way they are supposed to be fed they will demonstrate and that is our fear,” he stressed
He indicated that the heads of the various schools were warned to be prepared before calling the students back to school.
Second cycle instructions in the Northern Region reopened on Thursday 12th January, 2017.
Meanwhile Alhaji Abdul Malik Salifu Husseini is appealing to the new government to speed up with the process in order to settle the rest of the two terms feeding grants for the schools.
There are fears that, due to lack of funds, school authorities could reduce the quantity of food served students at the dining hall.
The reopening of the second cycle institutions in the Northern Region was postponed until further notice over feeding grants.
There will also be an emergency meeting between the headmasters of the various schools in the Northern Region to come out with a final decision today.
The second cycle schools in the three regions of the north are indebted to food suppliers for three terms.
Information available revealed that two terms of 2015/2016 and the 1st term of 2016/2017 making it a whole year was in arrears and such indebtedness would not allow them to go back to the suppliers.
Some parents expressed worry that the situation could have adverse effects on the academic work of their wards.


Teachers Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Salaries

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Jan 232017

The Coalition of newly trained teachers has threatened to lay down their tools, if the Nana Addo-led government does not pay them their accumulated salaries by the end of this month.

The teachers, numbering over twenty thousand, say they have not been paid a dime since they were posted in September last year.

Explaining their dire situation to Citi News, the President of the Coalition, Samuel Yeboah, said some of his colleagues who were posted to deprived communities had to depend on loans for rent and payment of other necessities.

He said if they don’t receive any assurance or commitment from the government, they will be forced to picket at the Finance Ministry or stage a series of demonstrations.

“On the 5th of February, we are going to do a picketing at GES, Ministry of Education and the Controller and Accountant General, to pressurize them to quicken the process. By end of February, if we do not hear anything, we will go on strike until our needs are met.”

There were series of protests within the education sector under the previous NDC administration.

In the latter part of 2016 for instance, teacher trainees picketed at the Finance Ministry to demand feeding grants for colleges of education, while newly trained teachers also protested over their salaries.

GHANASS Student Killed By Fallen Tree

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Jan 232017

A first year student of the Ghana Senior High School in Koforidua was killed last Saturday after a tree fell on him.

The deceased, Frempong Mposu, was a general arts student of the school.

Six other students were injured and are receiving treatment at the St Joseph’s Roman Hospital.

According to a student who witnessed the incident, “The tree just fell and about six people got injured. There were a lot of people there, but most of them managed to run away so they were not affected.”

The Effiduase District Police Commander, ASP Dan Yaaro, confirmed the incident and said the police were investigating the matter.

Source: Daily Graphic