The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) claims to have observed friction between the leadership of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES).
According to the Institute, the Ministry by its operation seems to marginalize the GES.
One situation, he noted, rendered the GES ineffective.
In a statement signed by the executive director of IFEST, the institution expressed concern about the effect the frictions were having on the education sector.
“The Ghana Education Service (GES), which is the largest agency of the Ministry of Education, is responsible for the implementation of approved national pre-tertiary education policies and programs to ensure that all children Ghanaians of school age, regardless of tribe, gender, disability, religious and political affiliations receive inclusive and equitable quality formal education.
“The mandate of the GES makes it virtually impossible for any decision or policy to be made at the pre-tertiary level without their input as they are the enforcers of all such policies in accordance with the law,” parts of the statement read.
IFEST EXPRESSES CONCERN THAT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SEEMS TO BE OUTSIDED FROM THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE IN ITS OPERATIONS
1. IFEST has become aware of a series of events that could have a drastic effect on the education system in Ghana. It is called an education system because it has various parts that must function properly to achieve the common goal of providing quality education to citizens and improving the human capital capacity of the country.
2. While the Ministry of Education has oversight responsibility over all of its agencies, specific roles are assigned to each of these agencies to enable them to function effectively within the education ecosystem. For example, the National Board of Education has a mandate to promote teacher professionalism; NaCCA is responsible for curriculum and assessment issues at pre-college level; NaSIA is mandated to provide independent external assessment of quality and standards in basic and graduate education institutions across the country on a periodic basis, etc.
3. The Ghana Education Service (GES), which is the largest agency of the Ministry of Education, is responsible for the implementation of approved national pre-tertiary education policies and programs to ensure that all Ghanaian children of school age, regardless of tribe, gender, disability, religious and political affiliations receive inclusive and equitable quality formal education.
4. The mandate of the GES makes it virtually impossible to take any decision or policy at the pre-tertiary level without their input as they are the implementers of all such policies according to law.
5. IFEST would like to remind the general public of four incidents in the education sector that suggest an attempt to weaken the GES and make it redundant in carrying out its mandate in the sector. These are very worrying trends that should not be swept under the rug.
a. NATIONAL STANDARD TEST (NST): IFEST is reliably informed that the GES, like many other institutions in the sector, was not in favor of the way the NST was carried out. This ran counter to the National Learning Assessment Framework and its associated operational plan to make the NST a school-based diagnostic test instead of an external examination conducted by the WAEC. Against all judicious advice, the ministry proceeded with the test, the course of which was full of confusion. Almost six months later, WAEC is still struggling to produce a single result as most students have not shaded the paper, according to our surveys.
b. SCHOOL CALENDAR: For some time we have been experiencing an irregular school calendar which is not characteristic of our pre-higher education sector. The GES has been responsible for the school’s school calendar all these years, however, recently the ministry set up a committee to produce what they said would produce a stable and sustainable school calendar. The end result of this decision is public knowledge.
vs. RECRUITMENT OF DIRECTORS: Documents available at IFEST reveal that far-reaching decisions have been made regarding the recruitment of directors for newly completed STEM schools. The teachers’ unions opposed it. Although the ministry has refuted this claim, there are enough documents to show that NAGRAT was correct in his statement. Clearly, this activity falls outside the Department’s mandate.
D. GALOP BROUHAHA: The conversation on the issue of GALOP teacher education clearly cements our proposition that the Ministry of Education is gradually juggling the role of policy formulation and implementing agency, which presents the GES as ineffective. It is clear from World Bank correspondence, GES and Ministry press releases that the GES who is mandated to undertake this teacher training exercise has been sidelined in the entire process. Without disputing any reason, IFEST cannot understand how such a project could be deemed to have been carried out without the explicit knowledge and involvement of the GES.
6. It is clear from the events mentioned that it appears that the Ministry of Education is consciously or unconsciously weakening the GES by its constant actions. It is important to stress that GES must be efficient, effective and inspiring in carrying out its mandates. Any attempt by the Ministry of Education to continue down this path will kill morale within the GES and put the implementation of many policies in the education sector, especially at the pre-tertiary level, in complete disarray, as has been the case in some cases. Already, the World Bank has deplored the slow implementation of GALOP projects.
1. IFEST calls on the Minister of Education to show leadership and ensure that there is good coordination and cordiality between these two essential institutions.
2. We further call on the Board of the GES to ensure that the service’s mandate is not compromised.
3. Finally, we call on the President of the Republic of Ghana to step in and ensure that the investments made in the education sector are not lost due to the lack of coordination between these two critical institutions.
Peter Anti (Executive Director).