After a two-day meeting with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) at the instance of GES in Kumasi on the 17th and 18th December 2020 on the above subject, the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED), has made the following observations:
- The idea to coordinate and harmonize the operations of NGOs/CSOs to align with the broad GES objectives and Government Policy for that matter is welcome. NNED believes this will promote efficiency and a reduction in the duplication of interventions as may be the case currently.
- NGOs/CSOs have consistently worked with decentralized departments like the District and Regional Education offices, the District Assembly and Social Welfare departments to ensure synergy. Therefore, this current attempt by GES to regulate NGOs/CSOs may only aim at constricting the NGO/CSO space.
In bid to play this coordinating role however, GES must be mindful not to undermine the freedoms of CSOs/NGOs since not all of them will be interested in being members of a coalition as proposed. And an interest of GES in wanting to approve all project proposals of CSOs/NGOs before they secure funding as well as for NGOs/CSOs to disclose their sources of funding and bankers will be a duplication of work. In the light of the above, NNED makes the following recommendations:
- That the softcopy of the draft framework be shared with NGOs/CSOs for fine tuning as was agreed by participants at the Kumasi meeting.
- That the Social Welfare departments and the Register Generals Departments are the legally mandated bodies established by the companies code, 1963(Act179) to register and certify companies including NGOs/CSOs and should as such, be allowed to do so.
- That GES strengthens its structures at the District and Regional levels to perform better in coordinating the activities of NGOs/CSOs rather than the current desire to regulate NGOs/CSOs whose objectives includes demanding accountability from the same GES.
- That GES’s intention to have all NGOs/CSOs working in Education be a part of a particular coalition as a prerequisite of being permitted to work in the educational sector will be a constriction of the freedom of association as provided by the Ghanaian constitution.
- Asking that, NGOs/CSOs pay registration fees to GES will be a duplication as similar fees are paid by NGOs/CSOs to the Department of Social Welfare and the Registrar General’s Department when renewing their certificates and filing annual returns, respectively. Approaches to achieving synergy and harmony cannot be achieved through the current strategy by GES. .
NNED strongly recommends therefore, that GES suspend the draft NGO/CSO Coordinating Framework and strengthening the existing arrangement where CSOs submit reports to DEOs and hold annual meetings/fora with same. GES should support its Districts to document the reports CSOs submit to them, so they can process and use the information to inform policy planning.
Mr. Iddi Dokurugu
Vice Chairman NNED
Submitted to the Director-General, Ghana Education Service, Accra.
Cc: The Ministry of Education