Tears For Education

Heads of Senior High Schools have been compelled to order a premature vacation. With dearth of funds from the state kitty staring them in the face, they had no other option than to take that sensible step.

Following that unusual step, we are yet to hear from the Ghana Education Service (GES) about what their version of the story is. The silence is foreboding, and we wish the contrary was the case, given the importance of this sector in the moulding of the country’s human resource base and the fight against poverty.

Were we to hear from them, there would be so much propaganda in the explanation that we would be lost in our attempt to winnow the chaff from the grains. We might be better off without such explanations anyway.

Even more disturbing is the fact that students and parents do not have an inkling of how much they would be paying when schools resume. That is not all. Even the reopening date is unknown.

Parents did not have to be told about the challenging times the schools were enduring because when their wards arrived home without the bills containing payments for the next term, that fact was palpable to require further probing. The bills were simply not ready because the details were, for now, beyond the knowledge of the school authorities, given the incessant increase in prices of items, especially foodstuffs.

The school authorities would rather have wished that fees reflected the reality of the market situation. The government’s eagerness to score political points with oral diktat to school heads not to go beyond a certain figure is to be expected as promised subventions would never come.

The tertiary segment is similarly not posting a heart-warming report, as the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers’ Association of Ghana (POTAG) are both on a warpath with government. Members of POTAG have been out of the classroom for a while now, and UTAG also announced its strike action recently.

Like the economy, the education sector is passing through turbulent times. It has been the case since the baton of governance was passed on to the crop of personalities at the helm of affairs now.

All segments of teachers in the education sector have gone on strike at different times since the NDC assumed power.

The effects of these on the development of education can only be imagined. Under the prevailing circumstances, the quality of education would definitely suffer further decline even as government continues to scream from rooftops about its commitment to enhancing the sector.

The reality on the ground does not tally with the campaign promises made when the NDC was seeking political power.

Playing politics with education is unacceptable, especially as the drawbacks of such gimmicks are beginning to tell.