Next NDC government will prioritise basic level education – Mahama 

Headlines Next NDC government will prioritise basic level education – Mahama

John Dramani Mahama, Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has pledged to place premium on basic level education to make it more viable if re-elected president in December.

He explained that basic level education was the foundation of any good educational system, assuring that his next government would resource the sector to improve teaching, learning and performance at that level.

This include improving infrastructure, ensuring timely release of teaching and learning materials, as well as timely disbursement of the capitation grants, to ensure effective management of the schools.

Mr Mahama gave the assurance when he met with the leadership of three pre-tertiary teacher unions, in Accra, on Friday.

The unions include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT).

The meeting was to solicit information and views from the unions to influence the Party’s 2024 manifesto.

The former President was accompanied by key party members, including Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Running Mate for the 2024 election.

Mr Mahama said Ghana’s education sector was at a “cross road” and required broader stakeholder involvement to address it.

He said he would, therefore, facilitate a stakeholder dialogue within the first 100 days of assuming office to deliberate on the challenges in the sector and find solution to them.

He also pledged to embark on massive infrastructure development in the education sector to address congestion in schools and improve the teaching and learning environment.

“The NDC policy of infrastructure development will again be pursued vigorously to decongest the large class sizes. Abandoned infrastructure in the basic and senior high and TVET schools, including the E-blocks, will receive priority attention under my administration,” he stressed.

On the Free Senior High School and TVET programme, Mr Mahama said review of the policy was non-negotiable, stressing that “it is a must,” to address the numerous challenges and strengthen its positives.

On Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and TVET education, the former President said the next NDC government would mainstream them into the country’s education system to ensure it achieved a holistic goal.

On teacher motivation, Mr Mahama promised to work with the teacher unions and the Ghana Education Service to roll-out incentive packages for teachers, particularly those in deprived areas.

That, he said, was to encourage more teachers to accept postings to underserved communities to improve teaching and learning.

“A comprehensive data on teachers in such areas would be gathered so that teachers can be compensated for the deprivation they suffer in such areas,” he added.

Additionally, the former President said, the next NDC government would develop an Auto Loan and Housing Schemes to support teachers to acquire cars and houses.

With housing, he said, teachers who had a 15 to 20 years working life ahead of them would be able to take low interest mortgages indexed in cedis to acquire affordable houses.

That would be done in collaboration with the teacher unions, he added.

He also promised to decentralise the posting of teachers to ensure equitable deployment of teachers.

“In view of this, the NDC will halt the current centralised posting of teachers from the GES Headquarters and revert to the deployment by the Regional/District Directorates of education,” he added.

Mr Eric Angel Carbonu, President of NAGRAT, speaking on behalf of the unions, said as unions they were not going to accept any promise from presidential candidates if those promises were not embedded in their manifestos.

“The time has come where we stop making flowery promises on the spur of the moment moved by the excitement and jubilation of the crowd, and we feel that those type of platform promises were what have brought us to where we find ourselves today.

“We believe that whatever promise any politician will make going forward, for the promise to be taken serious by the people of this country, should find expression in the manifesto of the various political parties,” he stressed.

As a result, he said, the unions had developed a document which contained policies and programmes, as well as their demands of the next government and urged the political parties to consult the document and embed the demands in their manifestos.

Mr Carbonu also urged the former president to restore the image of the teaching profession to attract only committed persons into the field.