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10.11.2005 Business & Finance

BUDGET: Increase in school enrolment

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Accra, Nov. 10, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday said the vigorous implementation of the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) had led to significant achievements this year.

The National Primary Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) increased from 86.1 per cent in 2003/2004 to 87.5 per cent in 2004/2005, he said in the 2006 budget and government's financial statement dubbed Good News Budget presented to parliament.

He said the National Pupil/Teacher Ratio for primary schools, increased from 34.0:1 in 2003/2004 to 34.9:1 in 2004/2005. The GER for pre-school increased from 58.8 per cent in 2003/2004 to 60.14 per cent in 2004/2005.

It is estimated that the current GER of 87.5 per cent will increase to 90.9 per cent in 2005/2006. In addition, Gender Parity Index of 0.93 in 2004/2005 is expected to reach 1.0 in 2006. On the Capitation Grant, Mr Baah-Wiredu said a total of 28.5 billion cedis under the Scheme was released to all public primary schools in 53 deprived districts.

He said payment of the Grant had a positive impact on enrolment as the GER of the deprived districts increased from 76.06 per cent in 2003/2004 to 80.12 per cent in 2004/2005. From September this year, the Finance Minister said, the Scheme was expanded to cover all public basic schools and subsequently 95.0 billion cedis was paid as Grant.

To improve on the quality of education, the Ministry of Education and Sports embarked on a programme of upgrading 24,000 untrained teachers in the sector.

About 6,255 untrained teachers have so far enrolled and are expected to be taken through the first 13 modules prepared for the training.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Government had fully implemented its policy of providing textbooks to basic schools.

By the end of the year, he said, "we would have achieved 1:1 Pupil/Textbook ratio in all subjects at the primary and JSS Levels in public schools exceeding its target of 1:1 Pupil/Textbook ratio in 3 core textbooks."

On enrolment in the public Universities, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the enrolment had seen over 150 per cent intake within the last five years. He said in September 2000, enrolment for University of Ghana was 10,000 students and currently the total number of students is 28,000. The Finance Minister announced that the Government had approved the establishment of the Open University in the country.

He said arrangements were already underway for the establishment of the University in the Greater Accra Region to provide avenues for a large number of qualified applicants who do not gain admission into universities and other tertiary institutions due to inadequate facilities.