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07.06.2004 Education

System to expose inadequacies in education needed - Baah Wiredu

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Accra, June 7, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Minister of Education Youth and Sports, on Monday called for a system that would expose the inadequacies of the various institutions, agencies and individuals in supporting schools to provide quality education.

He said about 30 per cent of the National Budget was invested into education and, therefore, if the quality of education was not reaching an acceptable standard it was reasonable to ask who was to be held accountable.

Mr Baah Wiredu said this in a speech read for him at the opening of a training workshop on Capacity Building in National Educational Assessment: Sampling in Accra.

The five-day international workshop aimed at building the capacity of planners in education assessment is being organised by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports in collaboration with the World Bank Institute, the International Institute of Educational Planning and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The workshop, the third in a series, forms part of others lined up to build capacities in educational personnel of selected countries over a period of one year.

About 30 participants from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Kuwait, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Uganda are participating in the workshop.

Mr Wiredu said analysis of such an assessment would influence the decision about the allocation of resources and the efforts to reinvigorate the education system to maintain high standard of achievement among pupils and students.

He said for the public and parents in particular, improving quality of education invariably meant raising the level of academic performance of pupils, usually as measured in test scores and in public examinations.

"Despite this merit it was important to remind ourselves that quality of education had many facets which included infrastructure, school buildings, management, teacher training and development, teaching and learning material and of course pupils' achievements", he said. He expressed the hope that the introduction of a national assessment into the educational system would go a long way to diagnose properly the factors that militated against the achievement of quality education in schools.

Rev Ama Afo Blay, Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, said quality means a person must be able to read and write using his or her own mental abilities.

She called for a computer data that would be easier to understand, upgrade, interpret and manage.

Mr Vincent M. Greaney, a Representative of the World Bank Institute (WBI) said the Institute was working with a group of education planners to develop a level of learning expected to improve the educational and academic standards of schools.

He said a system of statistical analysis and reports on various schools was necessary to find out the standard of learning in the schools, not only in Ghana but also in other developing countries. "We need to keep data on the number of schools, their level of performance and schools that would need to be assisted to raise their standard, so that in sampling, every school stand the chance of being selected but we are targeting the poorer ones," Mr Greaney added.

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