The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has expressed his worry about Ghana’s education sector following revelations about the lack of basic needs in some schools.
He also lamented the fraudulent activities as regards the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
Speaking on JoyNews’ AM show, Tuesday, Mr Ablakwa recommended that the government review its priorities within the education sector.
He stated that in the wake of the lack of basic needs, the government should desist from announcing “fanciful things”, citing the free tablet promise made by the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia.
“I hear all kinds of fanciful things being announced. When you look at the reality; when children don’t have food, when there’s no furniture, when children are lying on their bellies, and there are no textbooks, you should not be announcing free tablets, and we’re building STEM schools.”
“Yeah, those things are not bad per se, but you see, basics, the foundation. When your foundation is weak, you cannot be doing those things. So we must see reprioritization,” he said.
Coupled with a review of the government’s priorities in the education sector, the legislator has also suggested that government decentralises and empowers the district directorate of education.
According to him, this would help resource the director at the district level with the necessary tools to address some of the challenges “at the micro level.”
Speaking on the “placement for sale” exposé, Mr. Ablakwa has commended JoyNews for the investigation and proposed that the human factor and for that matter, the protocol culture should be abolished in the CSSPS in order to admit based on merit.
A JoyNews documentary titled “Schools of Shame” revealed what many referred to as an eyesore situation in Ghana’s education sector, especially in the Northern Region.
Students studying in dilapidated buildings, lack of furniture, lack of teaching and learning materials and lack of human resources in the education sector are some of the resounding issues highlighted in the documentary.
In the midst of this, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has promised Senior High School Students free tablets, an approach perceived by the public as unnecessary in that government must focus on basic needs first.
Following this documentary, is another headlined “Placement for sale” exposé which brought to light irregularities regarding the computerised placement system introduced to deploy students to Senior High Schools based on merit.
The investigative documentary revealed that 10% slot is usually reserved for protocol placement. Parents pay as high as 20,000 cedis to secure a category A or B school for their wards without the requisite qualifications.
Commenting on the documentary, the former Ghana Education Service (GES) boss has said that he and the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum should take the blame for the issues raised.
Meanwhile, following calls for the prosecution of perpetrators, 8 people have been arrested pending further investigations.
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