The Executive Director of SEND West Africa, Mr Siapha Kamara, has described the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project as largely successful and underscored the importance of more investment in education as a means to transforming the lives.
Mr Kamara said quality education and early education among children would enable citizens to think critically and recreate the country’s economy.
He was speaking at the presentation of research findings of a study conducted by SEND Ghana on the flow, utilization and benefits of a three-year US $75.5 million grant to the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) from GPE on education outcomes in Ghana.
In 2012, MoE and GES accessed a US $75.5 million to support non-salaried expenditure in 6,600 schools in 57 deprived districts (which later increased to 7,015 schools in 75 deprived districts), with the overall objective of improving on planning, monitoring and delivery of basic education services in the country.
Presenting the findings in Accra, yesterday, Mrs Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, disclosed that the GPE grant had strengthened the spending ability of the National Office as well as the Regional and some District Directorates in school and that MoE, GES and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) had seen improvement in making education accessible to pro-poor communities.
According to the findings, Mrs Agyemang said, the grant allocated to GES had increased by 46% from GHS 43 million in 2013 to GHS 79 Million in 2014, that out of the allocation, approximately 91% (GHS 39 million) and 96% (GHS 76 million) were released by government in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and that by the end of 2014, 90% (GHS115 million) of the total grant (GHS 128, 350,000) had been disbursed.
She said the findings also indicated that at the school level, head teachers used the skills acquired to guide teachers, school prefects and School Management Committee (SMC) Chairpersons in the preparation of the Schools Improvement Implementation Plan (SPIP), budgets and the implementation of activities in the SPIP.
The findings, she said also indicated that unlike the Capitation Grant, GPEG allowed community participation in the implementation of their activities which enhanced unity and a sense of ownership.
Furthermore, she said, the findings indicated that the availability of teaching and learning materials was motivating teachers to work, making teaching and learning more practical and contributing to a reduction in absenteeism.
Mrs Agyemang said the Report revealed that GPEG had contributed to poverty reduction as parents had been relieved of the financial burden of bearing the cost of registration for final year students and printing of examination papers.
She said information from District Education Directorates (DEDs) and schools showed improvement in Planning their Annual Programme of Work (APW) and budgets in order to access the funds as well as in financial records keeping.
However, she said the findings indicated that all the three northern regions spent little on Information Communication Technology and Libraries.
The Report, she said, therefore, recommended that more funding was required to sustain the important contributions made in basic education and deprived communities under the GPE Project.
The Report, Mrs Agyemang said, also urged GES to document and replicate lessons learned in other programmes so that the practice would not only form an essential part of GES activities and strengthen their abilities to efficiently perform, but would also constitute a learning point for other government agencies.
She said the Report also urged District Directorates and Schools to step up efforts to increase girls education in school, particularly ensuring that the transition rate for girls to Senior High Schools was high.
Furthermore, she said, the Report called on District Education Directorates to only guide schools in the development of their SPIPs and not to dictate to schools what should be done.
In his remarks, Mr Isaac N. Biney, Director of Policy, Planning and Budget, MoE, pledged the commitment of the Ministry to continuing to work with all private partners in the Education sector to bridge the gender gap in the country.
Source: ISD (Aliyah Bayali)