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19.01.2005 General News

I have solution to GES ghost names - Statistician

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Accra, Jan 19, GNA - Mr E. T. Nartey, a Statistician has stated he has a solution to the "ghost names" problem on the payroll of the Ghana Education Service (GES).

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Nartey, who is a Principal Statistician of the Service, said he had developed a model that would enable the Ministry of Education and the GES to accurately determine teacher deployment and ensure efficiency in its payroll management.

He noted that the Ministry and the GES had been grappling with the problem of imbalances in staffing particularly at the basic level. Whereas there are large numbers of redundant teachers in urban areas vacancies existed in rural and deprived areas, which had serious implications for the salary budget, quality of teaching and learning and access to basic education in rural areas.

Mr Nartey said the Ministry and the GES could implement his model using three key variables namely the approved establishment, nominal and the payroll to distribute teachers equitably to schools, districts and regions throughout the country.

The GES Principal Statistician said that he developed the model using a computerised spreadsheet excel, adding that, it could be used to determine teacher demand and supply, redundancies, vacancies salary cost per pupil and the salary budget by school and district. He stated that using the model an analysis of average class sizes and pupil-teacher ratio could be done to determine, which district or school should run double shift, be multi-graded or split into two or more streams among other things.

Mr Nartey said that his model was presented and tested at a workshop on planning and data management for regional and district planning and statistics officers, another workshop on payroll issues for Divisional and Regional Directors, Unit Heads and representatives of education Units and other meetings.

He said that participants at the workshops and meeting tested the model using actual enrolment data for 2004 to see whether it was consistent with the policy guidelines for staff establishment and the outcome were positive.

The GES decided to implement the model at the workshop on payroll issues in Accra in April 2004 attended by then Director-General (DG) of the Service, the Reverend Ama Afo Blay, divisional and Regional Directors as well as Unit Heads and Representatives of Educational Units.

Mr Nartey said a number of districts including the Kumasi Metropolitan Education Directorate implemented the model to determine teacher needs at the primary level and detected 194 redundant teachers in Kumasi, which could not have been easily found out if not impossible to accurately determine.

In line with the decision to implement the model the then DG in May 2004 called for the submission of a work plan and budget for rationalising staff in primary schools on 7th July 2004.

Mr Nartey said that surprisingly, the Financial Controller had up to date not responded to the budget justification in spite of a reminder from the D-G just before she retired at the end of July 2004.

He said that in June 2004 the Minister of Education in response to a report from the Bawku East District on teacher shortages at the basic level asked the Chief Director of the Ministry to furnish him with information on the issue and a paper on teacher shortages to the GES Council.

"I had the opportunity to use the model to provide a solution in respect of Bakwu East District when I received the Minister's memorandum through my Director," he said.

Mr Nartey alleged that the rest of the assignment for the remaining districts had stalled because the Financial Controller was impeding the implementation while the problem of teacher shortages and names still existed leading to an impasse between the Auditor-General and the two key officers of the GES.

He could not explain why the Financial Controller was not supporting the project, which would enable him to be more efficient. The Auditor-General late last year directed the two key officers of the GES to clean the payroll of the service before receiving their salaries.

Mr Nartey explained that the problem of ghost names on the GES payroll could be attributed to absence of a computerised system for teacher deployment and payroll management.

He said that this was why he developed the model and said that in spite of the set back he would still pursue the objective of finding a solution to the problem.

Mr Nartey stated that the benefits of the software he had developed included automatically determining teacher needs, vacancies, redundancies and the number of unpaid teachers and ghost names. It would also help in determining, which school was operating within and outside its budget and in evaluating the overall performance of each district and region with regards to teacher deployment and payroll management.

"Now there is an impasse between the Auditor-General's Department and the Ministry of Education and the GES and I can solve the problem using my software titled Software Solutions for Teacher Deployment and Payroll Management," he concluded.

The Acting Director-General of GES, Mr Michael Nsowah acknowledged the efficiency of the software in solving the problems saying that District Directors of Education, who had benefited from the workshops, were expected to use it.

He said because of the decentralisation system much of the work would depend on the District Directors.

Mr Nsowah said records on the names the Auditor-General, Mr Edward Dua-Agyeman alleged the GES had persistently refused to delete from the payroll were being compiled.

He explained that the District Directors had been asked to furnish his office with the dates that they left the Service. The Acting Director-General said he had now established a hotline with the District Directors and they were expected to send inputs on teachers, who die or vacate their post immediately.

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