The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has joined the global community to celebrate the International Day of Education.
According to the institute, investing in people and prioritizing education should be a clarion call to targeted financing and utilization of scarce resources in the education sector. It believes that education is the guaranteed means to bridge the gap of inequality in any society, support the marginalized and lift people form poverty.
IFEST reckoned that the theme for the celebration is appropriate as it seeks to encourage the prioritization of investment in education.
“It is expected that investment in education both at the private and public levels would yield the needed returns and benefits. Hence, IFEST will want to encourage the relevant authorities to assess the impact of these investments on the various levels of development in this country. We are simply saying ‘Let the investment in people and the prioritization of education count in all aspect of our lives as a society’.”IFEST
Marking the day, Dr Peter Anti, Executive Director of the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST), emphasized the need for investing in people and prioritizing education. He explained that this is necessary especially in a situation whereby there is scarce resources in the country and the little at the disposal of government are being channeled in directions that are not yielding the needed returns.
Addressing inequalities in the education sector
Citing the infrastructure gap in the Kpandai district in the northern region where some 7,000 students do not have furniture, Dr Anti stated that statistics show that 350 of the 505 schools are deprived and these statistics are available to authorities in the education sector.
“In fact, when we did the national education week in 2020, the regional directors of education provided this information at the forum. In fact, recently, they did the same thing. So, every year, regional directors of education provide this information to relevant authorities… So, tying it with the theme for the International Education Day simply means that we need to invest or prioritize education, but investment does not mean putting money out there.”Dr Peter Anti
Dr Anti explained that a report released by UNESCO in January this year revealed that Ghana is spending three times the amount it is investing in rich families as compared to the poor families. By implication, he highlighted that government is spending 12% on poor households in terms of education and 36% on rich households in Ghana.
The executive director of IFEST emphasized that this does not bode well for the growth of the education sector.
“What this tells us is that we have people who are deprived and do not have the relevant educational resources, yet, when it comes to investing in education, we push the money from wherever it is to those who have got something, and they have the ability to finance their education.”Dr Peter Anti
Elaborating on prioritizing education, Dr Anti lamented that government isn’t doing much in that regard. He iterated that authorities are rather pushing money that is supposed to help bridge the gap to rather widen the gap of inequality.
To address the situation, Dr Anti called on government to redirect its investments to places where it will have the needed impact. He revealed that these investments will change the dynamics of the lives of some of the people in deprived schools and subsequently change the dynamics of the society that the schools are supposed to be situated.
“That is what we mean by prioritizing education and investing in people.”Dr Peter Anti