By Albert Futukpor
Tamale, Aug. 04, GNA – The government has been urged to unequivocally exempt recruitment of teachers into basic schools from the employment freeze as announced as part of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
School for Life, a non-governmental organisation, who made the call said this would forestall further deterioration in the delivery of basic education in deprived areas where over 5,000 primary school classrooms did not have teachers.
This was contained in a statement issued by School for Life and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Friday.
The statement analysed the implications of the 2023 Mid-Year Budget Review for providing educational services at the basic educational level in the country.
The 2023 Mid-Year Budget Review, which was presented to Parliament on July 31, 2023, reflected the challenging domestic economic environment and external headwinds.
A significant development in the Mid-Year Budget Review was a reduction in the appropriation by GH¢21.7 billion from GH¢227.7 billion in the 2023 Budget to GH¢206 billion in the Mid-Year Budget Review.
Another significant development was the downward revision of the 2023 real GDP growth rate target to 1.5 per cent in the Mid-Year Budget Review, a decline from 2.8% in the 2023 Budget.
Also, the end-year inflation target for 2023 had been revised upward to 31.3% in the Mid-Year Budget Review from 18.9% in the 2023 Budget.
The statement said, “the above developments imply expenditure cuts, a high cost of living and a slowdown in economic activity in 2023, which have implications for Ghana’s basic education sector” hence the call to help promote the delivery of quality basic education in the country.
It said, “the capping of GETFund proceeds and attendant underinvestment in basic education have led to dilapidated school buildings, abandoned projects and the festering of the schools under trees phenomenon,” calling on the government to uncap the GETFund proceeds as soon as practicable to release more funds to meet the infrastructure needs of the basic education sector.
It said, “In line with the recommendation to uncap GETFund proceeds, a private members’ bill has already been laid in Parliament. Civil society groups in the education sector and all well-meaning Ghanaians should build a strong advocacy coalition around the bill’s passage into law. The Parliamentary Select Committee on Education should unite around the bill and mobilise both sides of the house to support the bill’s speedy passage.”
The statement said, “In order to minimise agitations on the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) caterers’ front and enhance the quality of diet fed to basic school pupils, “Government should raise the feeding grant per child from the current GH¢1.20 to between GH¢3 and GH¢3.5 in keeping with the increasing cost of living in the next budget reading. Furthermore, all outstanding arrears owed to caterers should be cleared while measures are taken to stop the accumulation of arrears.”
It emphasised, “Delays in the release of capitation grants sometimes lead to some of the basic schools making parents pay for services that are supposed to be provided using capitation grants further worsening the economic plight of parents” and advised government to release capitation grants timeously to support the smooth running of basic schools.
It recommended that government should make construction of new infrastructure and revamping existing basic school infrastructure a priority to arrest the deterioration and sometimes the collapse of school buildings and eliminate schools under trees, adding, “this should increase the quality of basic education and enhance the country’s quality of human resources in the long run.”