Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, has disclosed that Ghana’s public basic school system is on the verge of collapse.
According to him, issues confronting Ghana’s education sector are so numerous. He revealed that he worries over the country’s education sector because the least any nation state can do for its citizens, regardless of the economic conditions, is to ensure that citizens, and in particular, the youth and children are given the best gift which is education.
Dr Apaak noted that when it comes to education, he has always argued that it ought to be prioritized because it is a right and not a privilege. He stated that as a society, if Ghana is going to make progress, clearly, that progress will be predicated on a literate population.
“The public basic school system is on the verge of collapse and that is because capitation grants have not been paid for six terms, school feeding caterers are on strike – which is supposed to ensure there’s retention. We have textbooks that are not being supplied, and furniture deficit. So, when you combine these challenges, the public basic school system is on the verge of collapse and this is an opportunity for me to call on government to do the needful because we cannot afford to continue on this trajectory.”Dr Clement Apaak
Moreover Dr Apaak revealed that both the future of Ghanaians and the future of the country is jeopardized. With this, he elaborated that basic school is foundational, and anyone who is interested in education cannot purport to build a “structure and a superstructure” on a weak foundation.
“That is why I have always argued that we ought to prioritize basic education, compared to secondary and tertiary. As we speak today, the school feeding caterers are not yet back to work… I must admit that even when the strike was called, the leadership of the school feeding caterers association indicated that there are some members who on their own volition have continued to prepare meals to feed the children but this is on a minute scale. Generally, the strike is still on…”Dr Clement Apaak
Challenges within education sector
Elaborating on the challenges confronting Ghana’s education system, Dr Apaak indicated that textbooks needed in basic schools are still not in all schools and those schools that have received, have only received some. The reason, he explained, is because the publishers have not been paid, and they have not been paid due to the fact that the cost of printing and distributing the textbooks has been outsourced to GetFund.
“Because GetFund is challenged in terms of its ability to meet its obligation, largely due to the capping, GetFund is unable to pay the publishers.”Dr Clement Apaak
Additionally, he highlighted that the issue of acute furniture deficit grounds effort aimed at progressing education. He stated that per statistics put out by the Africa Education Watch, over 2 million Ghanaian pupils have no furniture.
“Many of the basic schools, particularly in the rural areas the children are either sleeping on blocks or laying on their bellies to write.”Dr Clement Apaak
In Ghana’s secondary education, the Builsa South legislator recounted that the Association of Catholic heads of higher institutions, requested government to fast-track review of free SHS and address implementation challenges.
The issues that the association has raised, Dr Apaak emphasized, are issues which have been spoken about, to which government officials have acknowledged that the programme has experienced some implementation challenges.
“As we are speaking now, the contractors that the Buffer Stock Company has contracted to supply food to our secondary schools have signaled that they are owed and that if government does not pay them, very soon, they are going to picket the premises of the Buffer Stock Food Company and they will seize supplying food to our secondary schools.”Dr Clement Apaak