President assures to do more to improve basic education

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President Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has observed that even though his government has made considerable gains in the basic education sub-sector, a lot more remains to be done to improve learning outcomes.

Launching the Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) yesterday at Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo  said the problem of low learning outcomes, which reflect in the performance of some children at the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA), and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), must be addressed.

The President said, to achieve the desired improvement in learning for all children who go through the school system in literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills, Government is determined to ensure that children in every part of the country are taught by professional teachers.

“We remain focused on ensuring equitable teacher deployment, and strengthening accountability regimes. That is why Government is pleased to be collaborating with the World Bank in introducing the Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP),” he added.

Investment

Under GALOP, Government will invest some $219 million on a comprehensive set of interventions that addresses constraints from teaching to learning in our schools.

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“Through this programme, teachers in the early grades will be provided with continuous training, in line with the new curriculum; schools will receive teaching and learning materials; heads of schools will be trained on improved school management techniques; and supervision and assessment systems will be strengthened,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo added, “Ten thousand (10,000) low-performing basic schools, across the country, have already been selected to benefit from the project, and I am confident that the implementation of GALOP will help drive standards and quality in these schools.”

Expressing his appreciation to the World Bank and DFID, co-sponsors of the project, the President reiterated the commitment of his government to the goals of the project.

Gains

Outlining the efforts of his government to improve access to education, the President stated: “I made no secret my intention of putting education at the heart of my vision for the growth, development and transformation of Ghana.”

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He said that is why Government has implemented significant reforms to improve access, quality of education, infrastructure, teacher training and professionalisation, curriculum development, school inspection, and technical and vocational education and training.

Through the Free SHS policy, he noted, 1.2 million children are now in the country’s education ecosystem, 400,000 of whom would otherwise have been excluded.

He added that “over the last three and a half years, we have done a significant amount of work to boost education at the primary school level.”

“In September 2017, we introduced a new curriculum for kindergarten to primary school that reflects the realities of our aspirations. Under this administration, we have increased the capitation grant by 120 per cent, from GH¢4.50 per child to GH¢10.00. We continue to invest in infrastructure, and in the supply of teaching and learning materials for our children,” he stated.

Teachers’ welfare

On improving the welfare of teachers, President Akufo-Addo said his government has restored, and paid up to date, teacher trainee’ allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.

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In addition to the yearly average increase of 10 per cent in salaries, over the last three years, Government is, for the first time in our history, paying a professional allowance to teachers.

“We have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected. At the start of the 2018/19 academic year, all colleges of education were upgraded to university colleges. A 4-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree has been introduced in University Colleges of Education,” he said.

He added: “This means that, soon, a first degree will be the minimum requirement for teaching at any level of the education system.  Further, in September 2018, Government rolled out the teacher licensure programme, aimed at improving professional standards in line with best practices across the globe. The aim of the teacher reform programme is to enhance capacity, and improve the quality of teacher training to enable teachers respond to educational needs.”

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