Four political parties, the ruling NPP, oppositions NDC, CPP and PNC battled it out on what they have to offer the educational sector if given the nod come December 7.
The Political Parties Debate organized by the University for Development Studies (UDS) in partnership with NORSAAC and Oxfam on Education Policy in Ghana, invited all political parties to come and share what they have under their sleeves for the educational sector.
The event which was held on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 featured the four listed political parties. The debate mainly was on what each political party has for the educational sector in terms of ‘infrastructural development’, the ‘provisions they have made for students’ and also ‘what is in for teachers’ if any of them wins the elections. The following are some points raised by each political party relating to topical issues of concern.
On infrastructural development, the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwun who represented the ruling NPP said, government has done a lot when it comes to infrastructural development with respect to the educational sector in their four years in office. He, hoping the people of Ghana gives the NPP administration the mandate to continue with its work.
He indicated that GetFund future resources have been used in securing a 1.5billion Dollar loan for infrastructural development in the country.
“Over 1200 buildings have been completed so far for senior high schools and you also have at the primary and junior high school level, dilapidated buildings are been pulled down and new buildings are being built.
“The next phase of the 1.5billion is for primary, junior high and tertiary institutions infrastructural development.” Dr. Adutwum stated.
On the other hand, the Member of Parliament for Mion constituency, Dr. Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu who represented the NDC said from his party, the big push agenda stated in their manifesto has the infrastructural needs of the education sector embedded in it.
He mentioned that during their last tenure in office, the Mahama led administration aggressively embarked on infrastructural development across board and the educational sector had their own fair share. He noted that, the Mahama led administration built a lot of community day schools alongside other structures needed in schools. He indicated that, NDC if given the nod will continue with the good work it was doing.
The CPP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Professor Emmanuel Yoavi Hunnor Bobobee, who represented the party spoke about the intent of the party to make enough budgetary allocation to the educational sector so that the sector can undertake all needed infrastructural project.
“The government is responsible for collecting direct and indirect tax from all of us as citizens and for that matter, education must be paid for by the government. So we will be able to provide revenue from the direct and indirect taxes to sustain the sector.”
Dr. Divine Ayivor, Vice Presidential candidate for the PNC also spoke for the PNC. He mentioned that the party if given the thumbs up will make sure all old classrooms, together with it old furniture are replaced by new ones.
“If you look in our rural areas, schools Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built in the 1961 educational programme, some of those schools are still in existence without any maintenance. You can see roofs are falling apart; classroom furniture is the same old furniture that our great grandfathers used. PNC is not in favor of those.”
Touching on students developments in the educational sector, Dr. Adutwum said, laying a solid educational foundation for the citizens of every country will have a trickle-down effect to all other sectors of the country.
He said the Akufo-Addo led administration has a vision to ensure socio-economic transformation in Ghana through education. He said this accounts for the government’s decision of hugely investing in the educational sector, by implementing the NPP’s flagship programme, free SHS.
“Education in the 21st Century is not just a piece of the puzzle; it is the whole puzzle especially when you are talking about socio-economic transformation.
“This is because if you don’t get education right, you will not get your socio-economic transformation right,” he stressed.
The NDC representative, Dr. Yakubu said the NDC is committed to making the lives of students easier and also enhancing the quality of education for students. As such, as stated in their manifesto, they are going to abolish the double track system in the second cycle institutions. He mentioned that this will allow students spend more time in school and cover more of their syllables.
The CPP in their submission said, they are going to make all day schools boarding and all senior high school students’ boarding students. Professor Ayivor said this is going to help foster the spirit of tolerance in future.
“We will make all second cycle schools boarding, to enable the youth all over the country to meet and associate easily and then serve as an incubator to be tolerant in future.”
The PNC vice Presidential candidate said the PNC political party if given the power will embark on an all-inclusive educational system, and will make sure no Ghanaian child is left out since education is a human right.
“Education is a human right, according to our specification, that should not be denied anyone; wholesome or disabled, rich or poor, rural or urban; they should all have identical opportunity for education.” He said.
Each political party also had something planned for the teachers and again, in order of their presentation, the NPP’s Dr. Adutwum said the implementation of the Teacher Professional Allowance is a policy the NPP government is looking forward to continue and even make it better.
He said, this allowance is going to help take some financial burdens off the shoulders of teacher so that they become more comfortable in their chosen profession.
“This is November and I got a lot of calls from teachers in my constituency that, their professional allowance is been paid and I’m excited that, a promise was made and that promise has been kept.”
Dr. Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu, who represented the NDC stated that, the NDC will abolish the mandatory licensure exams trained teachers are required to take. He said this intervention forms part of various interventions by the NDC, directed at making teachers feel more at ease in the execution of their duties
He said his party, unlike other political parties, if given the nod, will rather ensure a quality educational system in the country; hence, there will be no need for the licensure examination.
In a rebuttal, the Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum who represented the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the teacher licensure exams which the NDC has promised to abolish is not a punishment to teachers. He said the exam was to affirm the profession and prevent people from abusing the title, but Dr. Yakubu disagreed.
Dr. Yakubu shed more light on the stance of the NDC in the matter, saying, for them at the NDC, they believe that the training system of teachers is enough as long as the required skills and professionalism is concerned. Therefore, the licensure exam adds nothing to the already trained teachers.
“As a political party, we do believe that if somebody is trained in a teacher training institution, he comes out as a trained teacher and therefore there is no need to write another exam to qualify the person to be a teacher.” Dr. Yakubu stated.
“In the event that the teacher does not pass the licensure exams, does that mean the fellow wasn’t trained as a teacher.” he asked.
The CPP also said for the teacher, they will increase incentives for teachers so much so that teaching will become “an enviable profession”. He also said the CPP will also promote continuous professional development so that, the teacher will continuously improve upon himself or herself.
“The CPP will restore the nobility status to the teaching profession; we will make the teaching profession noble again. Teaching will be incentive-laden and it will be the first-line job for only the most motivated. We will promote continuous professional development because it’s a profession and for that matter, they must be upgrading themselves.”
The PNC representative said their manifesto made provision for what “all other political parties have missed” which is they are going to make sure every teacher gets a raise. Also, the PNC is going to make sure that there is decent accommodation for every teacher.
“We will look at the teacher salary structure to make it better which means, every teacher will get a pay raise. We will provide adequate and decent accommodation facilities for teachers posted to rural areas. The government will make sure that for the teacher; sanitation, water, light is available and a decedent place for them to live as they teach.”
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