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23.03.2004 Education

Ministry of Education launches reform project

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Accra, March 23, GNA - The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has started a six-year project to enable it to improve on its service delivery and overcome the challenges of widespread inefficiency and inequity.

The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank and the Government of Ghana (GoG) are financing the Education Sector Project (EdSep), which would cost 88 million dollars.

The IDA is assisting with 78 million dollars while the Government of Ghana (GoG) is paying 10 million dollars.

The EdSep that places emphasis on equitable access to education; the provision of quality education, efficient school management and the development of a high level of science and technology; is expected to be implemented until October 2009.

Launching the Project at a three-day workshop in Accra on Tuesday, Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, said the project was to raise Ghana's educational standards, adding that everything must be done to make its implementation smooth.

She said delays in funding slowed down project implementation and called on the Ministry of Education to budget for the GoG counterpart funding in its annual and medium term (MTEF) budget.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports said the state of affairs of the education sector was further compounded at the tertiary level where the quality and relevance of its curricula were considered inadequate.

The shortage of qualified staff compared to the rapid expansion in student enrolment was another problem, he said.

He said the EdSep would be driven by three main components including capacity building and management, pilot programme scheme and the development and innovation in Tertiary Education Component. Mr Baah -Wiredu said the sector would also develop the potentials and capacity of the human resource to move the country forward. He called on all the participants who came from the 10 Regions to tackle all issues that would come up with thoroughness.

Dr Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State for Economic Planning, charged managers of EdSep to ensure expeditious implementation of the project to enable the nation to reap the expected benefits within the shortest possible time.

He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOEFP) had noted with concern the failure of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to adequately budget for GoG counterpart requirements, adding that the process of having to go through a supplementary budget request was time-consuming.

Dr Ashong said the project was to maintain a steering and oversight committee to come up with Terms of Reference and work plan, adding that the MOFEP must be given an observer status during their deliberations.

Mr Benoit Millot, World Bank Representative, said the project targeted the most needy districts and urged the Ministry to tackle it with utmost seriousness to create the desired impact.

Mr Paul Effah, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education, who gave an overview of the Project, said it started in 1987 with the introduction of the Junior and Senior Secondary School programme, the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) among other programmes.

He said in 2002, the Ministry did an internal scrutiny and review of the programmes and came up with a comprehensive report, which formed the basis for the implementation of the EdSep.

Mr Effah said the Teaching And Learning Innovation Fund (TALIF) was being well managed to assist the Project.

He said the EdSep would create awareness on HIV/AIDS through distance learning and improve the efficiency in the management of the academic programmes of the Polytechnics and Universities.