Kofi Asare, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, has sternly demanded for the uncapping of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to allow free flow of resources to the educational sector, particularly at the basic level.
Mr Asare has consistently argued that the country, since capping and securitising the GETFund, has not received any significant value for that political decision.
He said the capping is affecting infrastructure development at the basic level, for which reason parents have resorted to paying bribes as low as GH₵10.00 before their wards are admitted into Junior High School (JHS).
This challenge, he noted, has denied several pupils the right to fully enjoy the constitutionally mandated Free and Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) in the country.
Speaking at the launch of a review of the Education Sector Medium Term Development Plan (ESMTDP) 2018-2021, in Accra, last Thursday, he said the capping policy has not benefitted the education sector, but has rather caused several school blocks to be abandoned by the government.
“The Ministry of Finance is not releasing the GETFund, even though we are paying GETFund everyday – you pay VAT, you pay GETFund – so where is the money.
“Last year, out of GH₵1.4 billion allocated to GETFund, only 48% was disbursed at the end of the year.
“52% undisbursed. This is after GETFund had been securitised partially and also capped at 25%. So last year GETFund money released is only about GHC600 million instead of GHC1.4 billion,” he stated.
According to him, out of GHC66 million allocation in 2021, basic education received only GHC25 million, suggesting that elementary education is the least funded and neglected level in the Ghana’s education sector.
Meanwhile, the review conducted by the Africa Education Watch, in collaboration with the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, shows that a number of infrastructure projects have been abandoned since 2017, since without GETFund there cannot be infrastructure expansion.
He reiterated that the deficit in infrastructure is not going unnoticed, but it is being heavily felt in the area of transition, thus from primary to Junior High School (JHS) and between JHS ‘1’ and JHS ‘3’.
Mr Asare discovered that the first four years of the ESMTDP targeted to achieve 99% of transition from primary to JHS, but that expectation was short changed by almost 6% at the national level.
According to him, the reason accounting for this was that most primary schools do not have JHS, adding that students who after struggling to again admission into JHS, education is truncated due to long distances that they have to cover to school each day.
He added that some of the schools captured under the survey don’t have access to electricity, water and sanitation.
Teacher posting brouhaha
He said teacher to student ratio is still high in rural areas, not because there are lack of teachers but the teachers are refusing posting to the countryside.
Mr Asare pointed out that the situation can be addressed if the Ministry of Education makes it a policy to remunerate teachers in rural communities than those in cities and urban areas, through the adoption of a strategic policy or framework that addresses accommodation challenges of teachers.
“The framework must include specific protocols for resource allocation to deprived districts, peculiar teacher incentives and timetable for teaching and learning, a school infrastructure plan that incorporates teachers’ accommodation, customised teaching supervision and a monitoring system,” he recommended.