By Albert Futukpor
Tamale, Aug 11, GNA – School for Life, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has engaged members of the Parliamentary select committees on Education; and Children, Gender and Women on the need to perform their oversight responsibilities to ensure quality basic education delivery.
Madam Wedad Sayibu, the Director of School for Life, who led the discussions during the meeting in Tamale, highlighted infrastructural deficits, inadequate furniture, high ratios of pupils to teacher, pupils to classroom, and pupil to furniture, as well as challenges with the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).
Statistics from the Ministry of Education showed that desk deficits in 2021 alone was about 596,000 for kindergarten (KG), representing half of the national KG population, and 1.28 million pupils in primary schools.
It showed that 425,000 pupils, representing 30 per cent of junior high school pupils, were without writing spaces, bringing the total number of basic school pupils without desks to about 2.3 million.
The desk situation is worse at the primary level in underserved regions such as Northern, North-East, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West, Bono East and Oti regions as a result of poor funding.
Data showed that between 2014 and 2020, the share of the education sector discretionary expenditure to basic education declined from 19.2 per cent to 10.9 per cent.
There is also evidence of steady decline in funding for basic education by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) with only 16 per cent of GETFund’s infrastructure expenditure budget allocated to basic education in 2022, with secondary education receiving about 44 per cent.
Madam Sayibu said the situation was widespread across many communities, affecting quality basic education, hence the meeting with the two committees to engage the Government on the possible solutions.
Committee members also shared their perspectives on the issues and expressed their commitment to engaging with the relevant ministries and agencies on how best to address them.
Madam Sayibu told the Ghana News Agency that “the engagement has been very productive, very fruitful. We have seen commitment from the MPs from the two Select Committees, and all the issues we have discussed and raised, they have shown commitment to engaging the sector ministries and agencies on the key issues.”
“We are delighted at the kind of passion and the dedication they have shown. So, we think that we will continue with this kind of engagement and dialogue with the committees to perform their oversight responsibilities by holding the Government accountable on the provision of quality public basic education.”
“The Select Committee on Children, Gender and Women also made some commitment to engaging the Gender Ministry on how best to implement the GSFP in a way that is equitable, and really beneficial to the children to whip up enrolment and retention of children, especially those from vulnerable households…”
Mr Augustine Tawiah, Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, who headed the joint Select Committees during the engagement, commended the NGO for its efforts to ensuring quality basic education in the country.
“We are charting a course of providing education, seeking to increase quality and we do that with a mind of making it relevant.
Interestingly, as we move on, we sometimes have gaps, because you are dealing with the broad issues and some issues are not covered.”
He gave the assurance that they would look at the budgetary
allocations against actual disbursements.
“Sometimes, the budget can be so nice but the funds are not disbursed. Now that we know the issues from the ground, we should be able to connect with how much is disbursed so that we have a happy relationship between what was promised and what was delivered,” he said.