Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary, has re-emphasised government’s commitment to the decentralisation of the education sector.
He said the draft bill on the Education Decentralisation Policy would soon be placed before Parliament for passage.
Education Decentralization means the devolution of nursery, kindergarten, primary and junior high school management from the Ghana Education Service to the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
However, the regional education directorates would manage second cycle institutions in order to maintain national unity and cultural mix associated with such institutions.
Under the new education decentralization the Director of the Department of Education, Youth and Sports would draw funding from the MMDAs account meant for Education, Youth and Sports under the composite budgeting system.
Speaking at a public lecture on Education Decentralisation in Accra, Mr Ablakwa said despite the slow process of the programme, there had been some progress.
The lecture, on the theme: ‘Education Decentralisation: Updates of Progress and Clarification of Stakeholders Concerns,” was organised by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition with funding from the United States Agency for International Development.
It forms part of a series of activities to create public awareness and understanding of what public schools under local control and supervision could do to ensure quality education nationally.
Mr Ablakwa urged educational workers’ unions not to entertain any fears because their right to belong to any labour would not be curtailed under the new system.
Mr Ablakwa, however, said regions with excess teachers would have them transferred to the less endowed ones citing that the Greater Accra Region was having an excess teacher population of 15,000.
He said in 2013 the Ministry declared war on teacher absenteeism which was then at 27 per cent but had since reduced to about nine to 11 per cent this year.
He said analysis of the Basic Education Certificate Examination performance by students from deprived districts showed that some rural districts were doing better than others in Accra.
He called for the establishment of governing boards and management committees within basics schools as part of efforts to give them community ownership.
Mr Bright Appiah, the Chairman of Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, said decentralising education would strengthen and make basic education management more effective.
Dr Guitele Nicoleu, the Chief of Party, USAID Partnership for Education in Ghana, said the Agency aims to support Ghana’s educational institutions over five years to improve, expand and sustain learning outcomes for at least 2.8 million primary school children nationwide.
She said the activity placed particular emphasis on children in kindergarten through grade three.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, the Vice Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission, said it was extremely important that care was taken to ensure the smooth implementation of the national education centralization process since all other sectors of the economy depended on it.
Mr Divine Y. Ayidzoe, the Director of Statistics, Research and Information Management, Ministry of Education, said the Ministry would continue to support government’s efforts for the smooth passage of the bill.