A Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics of the University of Ghana has questioned the flagship education policy of the current administration. Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodi is proposing that the current Free Senior High School policy must be redefined to include quality, equity, and inclusivity, among others. To him, without these key ingredients, the current policy of free education cannot be called as such.
“We cannot have free education where children study under trees,” he said. “We cannot have free education where there is no basic infrastructure in the schools. ‘We cannot have basic education where basic things like chalk, and markers are not available in the schools. We cannot have free education where the pupil-teacher ratio is that high.
“So, we should all redefine free education to include quality, equity, inclusivity and all that.” Dr Adu Sarkodie made these known on Thursday, November 9 when he took his turn at a Media General-Star Ghana-organized Thought Leadership Forum.
The Forum is themed: ‘Financing of Basic Education in Ghana’. The economist called on the government to ensure quality in Ghana’s education sector in order to boost productivity and grow the gross domestic product (GDP). “Until we get there, we cannot boast of any free education in this country.”
The Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, who was also a speaker at the Forum, called on the government, the Finance Minister in particular, to budget for the deficit in textbooks in junior high schools. “On the tracking of textbooks in basic schools, while the textbooks are not adequate, they represent a significant improvement from the baseline.
“Sixty-five percent of textbooks required in the four core textbooks at the primary level, Maths, English, Creative Arts and Science, are available in our schools. Thirty-five percent of the textbooks are not available.
“There are distribution issues, so, some districts have more than they need, and some districts have less than they need. So apart from the distribution we need the remaining 35 percent. “In our meeting with the Minister of Finance two weeks ago, we indicated quite clearly that we want to see the deficit of the textbooks being budgeted for by the Minister of Finance in this year’s budget.”