Mr. kofi Asare, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, has shed light on the chronic issue of District Education Directorates collecting money from pupils to conduct end-of-term exams in public basic schools in Ghana.
While this is not news to anyone in the education sector, it is alarming that government officials are aware but silent because they have no alternative.
According to Asare, District Directors claim that the government has not sent any money for exams, but in reality only 12% of the Capitation and Base Grant required for this year was even budgeted by the Ministry of Education. As a result, basic education will suffer this year, and teachers will continue to tax parents to fund terminal examinations.
Asare is not against parental contribution to basic education, but he emphasizes that it is the responsibility of the Ghana Education Service under the Ministry of Education to fund examinations through the Capitation Grant.
According to him, denying basic schools of funds and watching teachers tax parents to fund terminal examinations is against the free compulsory universal basic education policy and constitutional provision per Article 38(2).
Instead of always demanding cash from poor parents to fund basic education, District Directors should muster the courage to tell the government that they cannot run basic schools with public relations. They must learn from the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) to get results.
Stating that under the free Senior High School (SHS) policy, when CHASS ‘shouts,’ a ‘state of emergency’ is declared at the Ministry of Education for fear of the closure of SHS, and money is quickly found and thrown at them.
He emphatically asserted that the cowardice of District Directors who are responsible for managing basic education will continue to make the government even more docile towards financing basic education, as there is too much timidity of leadership at the basic school level to attract any positive response from the government.
It is without a doubt the perpetual problem of funding basic education in Ghana must be addressed urgently. The government must allocate sufficient funds to the education sector, and District Directors must stand up and demand the resources necessary to run basic schools effectively. Nothing will come out of nothing, and it is time to take action to improve the quality of education in Ghana, he concluded.
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