Ministry to rate schools by their performance
Accra, Oct. 1, GNA - The Ministry of Education is to start ranking basic and secondary schools according to their performance in external examinations and to publish the ratings, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports has said. Mr Baah-Wiredu, who said this in an interview with journalists in Accra, on Tuesday said the rankings would enable the public to appreciate and monitor the performance of schools in their communities and contribute their quota to enhance their accomplishments. He said generating public interest in the performance of schools would push students and their authorities to improve upon their efforts as the environment would become very competitive. The Minister, however, noted that given the different conditions and facilities under which schools in rural and urban schools operated, the assessment criteria would be fair to all. Already, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Ministry, under its Education Management Information System (EMIS) project, annually published data and indicators on a variety of education issues from the district to the national level. The data include student enrolment, teacher characteristics, teacher-student ratio, school facilities, funding and students' achievements based on examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council. Mr Baah-Wiredu said the data was very useful as it gave a comprehensive image of the state of education in each locale to support the planning, implementation and monitoring of activities and programmes in the education sector. It also enabled the reader to monitor the trend of performance to see whether it was improving or deteriorating, while allowing the reader to compare the situation in one district or region to another. Mr Baah-Wiredu urged policy makers at all levels of education, NGOs, community leaders, parliamentarians, media practitioners, parents and other stakeholders in education to constantly acquire copies of the report, "Education Indicators at a Glance" for their use. The Ministry, he said, would soon put the data on its website and make copies available in libraries, schools and other strategic places to make them accessible. The Minister said it was erroneous for people to speculate that the Ministry lacked the relevant data on schools, especially at the basic level, for the planning and formulation of programmes while so much data was available.
Mr Samuel Okane, Senior Programmer for the EMIS Project, said the collection and processing of information for the project had been decentralised to make the process easier for contributors. The decentralisation process had so far covered 26 districts and the 10 regional capitals, he said.
Mr Okane, however, complained about the uncooperative attitude of some school authorities that refused to return or unduly delayed questionnaires submitted to them.
He said private school proprietors were the worse culprits, adding that, their attitude would deny the nation accurate information, especially for the full implementation of the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme, as it would be difficult to determine whether or not all children of school going age were enrolled by the deadline.
The Graduate School of Education of the Harvard University, United States supports the EMIS project, which started 10 years ago.