Education Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh says the Akufo-Addo government has delivered on its manifesto promise to transform Ghana’s education sector.
In a statement to Parliament Tuesday, he said the Free SHS programme, the double-track system among other initiatives have been successful to the extent that “our opponents are making a U-turn and promising a review of the programme if they win power in the 2020 elections, except they have failed to specifically say what aspect they will review, and to what end and purpose.”
The Minister said the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) failed to pay for its progressively free education programme before they left office.
This shortfall, according to the Minister has been paid by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“It is also instructive to note, that under the Progressively Free SHS policy touted by the NDC when it was in government, they left arrears of GHC 30,120,552.00 in respect of the 2015/16 academic year when the programme started with day students only. That has since been paid by the Akufo-Addo led government,” he said.
Dr Opoku Premeh further noted that capitation grant saw an increment from ¢4.5 per student per year to ¢10.0 per student per year in the 2017/2018 academic year.
The 122% increase in per capita Capitation Grant has contributed to removing the cost barriers to free access and provide schools with minimum amount of funds required to keep schools running.
In 2013, less than 2% of Primary 2 students could read, a situation he believes has improved under government’s watch.
He criticised the former government for discontinuing teacher allowances which the NPP government has restored.
But Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu says the minister should have used the statement to tell the house what is being done ensure schools resume normally post Covid-19 lockdown.
“That for me would have been a major public policy priority issue. To keep the Ghanaian abreast of how he is addressing, particularly the disparities and inadequacies,” he said.
The so called ‘Saito’ schools… don’t have the opportunity to learn whiles at home while under Covid. Minister, that must engage your priority attention in order that you’ll be resolving a necessary disparity in the provision of education and quality education to Ghanaian children in private schools against Ghanaian students in public schools.
Mr Iddrisu challenged the minister’s claim that the education sector is in a better shape today than what the NDC left. He explained that assertions that the NPP administration had paid what has been described as ‘legacy arrears’ owed some stakeholders in the sector are unfounded.
“We will commend you. But go and deal with it holistically. When you met with the teacher unions, their figure was GHS10,000. Your GES figure was 2,500.
You resolved only GHS2,500 and you come tell parliament that you have dealt with all legacy arrears. There is still outstanding,” he added.
The Minority leader also said payments for book and research allowances are yet to be expedited by government.