The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has accused government of paying little attention to the challenges of basic schools as a result of its flagship Free SHS policy.

According to the Association, since the outset of the policy, there has been minimal focus on improving the quality of education at the basic school level.

The Association said the neglect is affecting the quality of teaching and learning and the basic level.

Speaking in an interview with JoyNews, the President of the Association, Dr Isaac Owusu, lamented the situation and called on government to give the basic school education the attention and care it deserves.

In his submissions, he explained that primary education is critical to the success of secondary education and, therefore, should also be treated as a priority.

“Presently, even the secondary schools itself, there are a lot of challenges there that our members and the heads of the various secondary schools are facing.

Recently, CHASS came out lamenting that even food to be given to the children was an issue; [after which] the Minister of Education quickly mobilised something and sent it to the headteachers.

So you see, the attention should not be on the SHS alone. We should also look at the basic school, which is the foundation. Because if your foundation is not strong, there is no way you can build any meaningful structure”, he stated.

Dr Isaac Owusu also added, “Going forward, when we meet the authorities, we will let them know and understand that the basic school is key. It’s our foundation.

“The education ladder starts from the basic school. So we cannot do without the basic school and say that I have a nice infrastructure, I have a nice plan for the secondary school, so we’ll make it.

“We’ll not make it. So we’re pleading and appealing to those in authority that we’re begging them. They should take a second look at the basic education”.

The GNAT President made these remarks when he visited some basic schools following the resumption of academic work for the second semester.

JoyNews further urged the government to address some of the immediate problems in basic schools, such as the non-payment of capitation grants and the unavailability of textbooks and other essential teaching and learning materials.

In a related development, the Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee, Clement Apaak, has also highlighted some challenges being experienced by some basic schools across the country upon reopening.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the NDC lawmaker listed six of the challenges reportedly affecting teaching and learning in basic schools.

According to Mr Apaak, some heads of basic schools disclosed the said challenges to him.

Among the challenges he noted are; the lack of pupils’ attendance registers, white and colour chalks, lesson notebooks, markers and textbooks.

He also SAID, “government owes capitation grants as follows; a) 2019/2020 (2 Tranches), b) 2020/2021 (1 Tranche) and c) 2021/2022 (None have been paid)”.

Reports from some basic schools have repeatedly revealed that teaching and learning have been adversely affected due to these hurdles.

In the light of these concerns, the Builsa South MP urged the relevant authorities to resolve the difficulties.

“I urge the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to take steps to address these issues urgently.

“We can’t have effective teaching and learning in our basic schools if these issues persist”, he wrote.

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