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28.11.2008 Elections

Poor education standards took centre-stage at political debate

Poor education standards took centre-stage at political debate

Lowering educational standards in the Ho west constituency took centre stage at a political forum at Anyirawase on Thursday at which candidates for the area tabled their plans and answered questions from constituents.

Mr Leornard Kokorokoh, presiding member at the Ho municipal assembly told the forum in a briefing on the performance of the assembly that seven schools in the area recorded zero percent in the last Basic Certificate Examinations.

He said the surprise was that some much older schools with good performance records got zero while some areas thought to be disadvantaged got far better grades.

Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzra, a chartered quantity surveyor, National Democratic Congress (NDC), spoke broadly about the party's policies of improving motivation for teachers, including pay and opportunities of higher education, better school infrastructure and teachers accommodation, as panacea for solving the problem.

Foster Segbe, Teacher, Convention People's Party (CPP) said his party would work to improve school infrastructure and improve teacher's remuneration.

The other candidates, Mawutor Goh, Ho municipal chief executive, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Alfred Deletsu, a teacher, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) did not attend.

Mr. Segbe said he would rejuvenate the cocoa industry in the constituency, while Mr Bedzra said his party's programme was to invest heavily in educational and skills training programmes, putting aside part of the GETFund to sponsor bright but needy students.

Volta Physically Challenged Independent Group (VOLPHIG) organized the forum in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with support from Ibis Education Fund-West Africa under a Danish Good Governance Programme for Ghana.

Mr Davidson Mensah a retired educationist and now assembly member for Kpale/Etordome, one of the panellists, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he expected more practical suggestions from the candidates for raising standards in their schools.

In his opinion, the candidates should be talking about bringing stakeholders, including parents, teachers, educational authorities, churches, local government bodies and pupils together to tackle the problem.

Mr Mensah said salaries were only part of the problem, wondering if teachers in the so called disadvantaged schools, who did better than their counterparts in the old older schools, were not on the same salary regime.

Mr Mensah said the solution was in bringing teachers to concentrate on teaching their pupils and not only working to go for higher qualifications.

Mr Kokorokoh also said he thought the answers of the candidates were too general and not specific to issues confronting the constituency.

The candidates answered other questions on job creation, relationship between Members of Parliament and Assembly Members.

Mr Francis Asong, VOLPHIG General Secretary said the forum was expected to bring local issues on the table for discussion.