Stakeholders at a workshop on quality education in Ghana have called for a paradigm shift in educational reforms that moves from input-focused to outcome-driven policies to ensure quality outcomes.
They were in agreement that there was an urgent need for shared values and responsibility, where stakeholders could contribute and create a new teacher with a sense of commitment, passion, professionalism, as well as the desire to transform the world with their skills.
The conference, which was organised by STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism for its grants partners working in the field of education, was the first and intended to create a platform for networking, sharing of best practices and collaboration among the donor partners to ensure quality education outcomes.
Mr Akwesi Addae-Boahene, Country Director, World University Services of Canada, in an opening address in Accra on Tuesday, said Ghana’s educational system was in crisis and calls for massive collaboration of all stakeholders to resolve the challenges.
He described the current poor state of education, coupled with the massive falling standards at all levels as unacceptable and it undermines Ghana’s ability to compete internationally.
He said the high school dropout rate leading to low literacy among the youth calls for a change in focus and direction and stressed on the need for collaboration among stakeholders, combine their collective intelligence and skills to address the complicated and urgent issue of poor education outcomes.
Held under the theme; “Building Partnerships towards Quality Education Outcomes”, the two-day workshop is expected create a platform for networking among STAR-Ghana’s education grant partners as well as share results on their respective implemented projects on education.
The STAR – Ghana Education Convention is a learning event targeted at bringing together all the company’s Grant Partners that implemented education projects under the Results Initiative and the twenty-one education grant partners under the education thematic call.
Mr Addae-Boahene said it was critical that policy makers, education managers, donors as well as Non-governmental Organisations working in the education sector made learning the ultimate subject for national development.
“We need to make the education sector a learning organisation, able to address emerging issues and confront challenges with research and innovation”.
He attributed the crisis in Ghana’s educational system to issues such as overcrowded classrooms that were often instructed by teachers without any pedagogical training adding that high pupil teacher ratio has remained above 32 over the past decade despite large increases in student’s enrolment.
Other challenges include inequities in the distribution of teachers, higher teacher absenteeism and low morale and low instructional time as major contributors to poor Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results are some major obstacles to quality education in the country.
He said the National Education Assessment (NEA) tests of 2005, 2007 and 2009 outlined the nature of the poor quality of education in Ghana, citing that less than a third of the primary school children reach proficiency levels in English or in mathematics and also identified.
Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, Programme Manager, explained that STAR-Ghana between June and August 2011 put out a comprehensive call for proposals for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and non-state actors interested in undertaking projects that would increase their role in ensuring greater accountability and better performance in education service delivery in Ghana.
He said 21 legally registered Ghanaian CSO and non-state actors with at least three-year proven track record in implementing education projects were awarded a total of 3,550,120 dollars for a maximum working period of three years in value chain areas including advocacy, emphasizing CSO collaboration and networking towards engaging education stakeholders at all levels.
Mr Samuel Zan Akologu, Executive Secretary, National Catholic Secretariat, commenting on the role of faith-based organisations in education said a lot has been achieved through such organisations.
He called for a national conference of stakeholders to harmonise and celebrate the wonderful ideas of actualising, in a more meaningful way, the partnership between government and Faith-Based organisations towards quality education outcomes in Ghana. GNA