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07.01.2010 Education

Government to support needy students through education

By GNA
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Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Non-SSNIT contributors would soon be able to act as guarantors for students' loan applicants due to a guarantor diversification system introduced by the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF)

"Through this diversification, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, corporate bodies and individuals as well as SSNIT contributors would be able to provide guarantees for students,"

Mr. Alex Tettey-Enyo, Minister of Education who announced at the meet-the-press in Accra on Wednesday said government was determined to ensure that every qualified student who needed financial support could access funding.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo said government would continue to give priority to the sector with allocation of resources even though there were still significant funding constraints that impeded the ministry's effort to meet the requirement of every agency and department under it.

The GETfund, he said would continue to be a dependable source of funding support for education sector development in the provision of textbooks, scholarship, funds for student loans trust, provision of vehicles and financing of on-going projects.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo said the capitation grant had proved a useful means of promoting access to education by removing a key barrier confronting households caught in the poverty trap hence government's decision to increase the allocation from 3.00 to 4.50 Ghana cedis per pupil per year.

He said to ensure that the system was not held to ransom on account of arrears of scholarships and subsides, they had been paid while that of the capitation grant for the first term of 2009/2010 academic year had also been settled and the remaining academic year would be provided on schedule.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo said the ministry was also preparing the release of subsidy for the BECE in 2010 on time for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to prepare for the conduct of examination.

He noted that syllabuses had been developed for all subjects for BECE with the opening of new examination centres in the districts to make the examinations more accessible to candidates.

On examination leakages, Mr. Tettey-Enyo admitted that the problem still lingered despite efforts made so far to eliminate it but that government and the ministry would support efforts by the council in finding ways to curtail it and boost the performance of candidates.

He expressed the hope that the non-formal education division of the ministry would improve on the achievements made under the two phases of the National Functional Literacy project during which it enrolled 1,373,571 learners and over 1,000,000 adult learners adding "it would be restructured despite financial constraints".

The Minister of Education said government would consider a third phase that would expand the programme to address the need for English literacy among vocational groups such as hairdressers, drivers and dressmakers.

He said the ministry would make it possible for users of libraries in the country to access the internet and announced that users of Cape Coast, Accra and Kumasi Libraries could now access information on the internet.

The management of Ghana Library Board, he noted would therefore collaborate with the public affairs department of the US embassy in providing ICT training, free internet access and library services for basic schools.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo mentioned the creation of national distance learning and open schooling, national inspectorate board, religious and moral education, the national service scheme among other areas of the sector.

He said government would streamline their operations to make them efficient and effective to move education forward.

The Minister of Education expressed government's desire to ensure that Ghanaians had access to quality education to ensure quality life and commended all stakeholders in the sector for their support.

GNA

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