Accra, Feb 21, GNA – President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday said government would prioritise and expand access to education at all levels to ensure equitable society that provides the best educational opportunities for all.
Delivering his state of nation address to Parliament in Accra, President Mahama stressed the need to aggressively address quality enhancement and outcomes at all levels by putting in place measures to monitor quality of educational service delivery especially teaching and learning at all levels of Ghana’s educational system.
‘Our quest to build an equitable society in which the productive capacities of our people are tapped for national development will come to naught if we do not give our children sound, meaningful and relevant education. This is even more imperative in today’s knowledge-based economy. Any nation whose people do not have the required level of education will be left behind’, he indicated.
The Presidents said government would also reward outstanding educational service providers to boost morale in the sector as well as work to achieve gender parity in education and towards standardization and affordability in fees.
He extended a hand of partnership to all social partners, including the religious bodies with long-standing roles in the provision of educational services and private sector operators of educational services to engage ‘in this national reconstruction exercise for expanding access and improving quality of education in Ghana.’
On Basic education, President Mahama said government would ensure that every child got a head start by working to effectively and practically integrate kindergarten education into the existing system.
District Assemblies would be required to incrementally build new structures in all existing public schools to serve the needs of kindergarten education.
He said the government objective to eliminate the remaining schools under trees by the end of 2016 was on course and that it intended to enforce compulsory basic school attendance and deepen pro-poor interventions like the distribution of free school uniforms, free exercise books and free computers.
The school-feeding programme would also be progressively expanded to all public basic schools in rural communities to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of the pupils.
President Mahama expressed government’s commitment to tackling the greatest challenges facing education at the secondary level in our country. ‘Paramount among these is a lack of access occasioned by inadequate space and facilities for the large number of qualified Junior High School graduates.’
To address the limitations imposed on access to secondary education, he said government would over the next four years, construct a total of two hundred new community day Senior High schools, giving priority to Districts, which currently lacked such schools.
‘This level of aggressive expansion and improved access to secondary education also means the need for more qualified and well-motivated teachers, as well as administrative staff.’
The President announced the rolling out of a special sandwich teacher educational training programme targeted at the unemployed graduates, in preparation for the full implementation of access to secondary education programme in the next few months.
He said government would also lead a process to modernise and increase the number of colleges of education with special emphasis on deprived areas and communities and design and implement a distance education programme for teachers with ten decentralized satellite campuses across the country, taking full advantage of contemporary information and communication technology platforms that would allow electronically-shared access to instructional and curriculum resources by students and staff in the colleges.
In the area of Special Education, government would facilitate the completion of ongoing construction of Assessment Centres and equip special education units with the necessary teaching and learning aids including devices for the hearing and visually impaired.
‘In doing this we intend to emphasize inclusive education by ensuring that our children with special needs are fully integrated into our society through the educational arrangements. Government will provide incentives for special educators and ensure our children-with-special-needs benefit from the advantages of modern technology’.
By the third quarter of 2013, government would initiate a Bill for Parliamentary consideration towards the establishment of a new University in the Eastern Region, committed to Sustainable Environmental Development and Research.
In addition the 10 existing Polytechnics would receive special support while expanding degree-awarding courses.