The desire to relinquish power from the Central Government to the Sub-national level needs a thorough discussion by stakeholders and experts in the field of education. The findings of feasibility that urged for this policy and change in the statutes of the Ghana Education Service must be reviewed properly before the bill becomes a jeopardy to the educational system and its values in our Country.
The new statutes that will transform the entire administrative organ or structure of the Ghana Education Service need to be modified as the bill is yet to go through several consideration stages. A careful scan through of the excerpts of the bill leads to pinpoint lapses and precursors to future operational difficulties. A number of concerns have not to be captured in the bill and their inclusion will make it the desired of the law-makers and the citizens as a whole.
The Ghana Education Service as part of the Public Services of Ghana has its own act which is applied for the co-ordination of the approved national policies and programmes relating to pre-tertiary education in Ghana. Every institution goes through evolution and a change in the laws governing the Service and perhaps its council is apt considering the level of change in the educational sector globally.
The transfer of major decision-making powers and authority to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) is meet as those at these levels have routine interactions with the workers of the Service and its ardent workers or employees, the teachers. These agencies will also be the best to help execute the policies of the Ministry of Education and the government of the day.
Thus, the amendment of an act or a law seeking to transform the Ghana Education Service to greater heights needs quality as well as results-oriented inputs gathered from stakeholders without fail. The policy desires of the political elites in the country should not be the determinate and limiting factors to make this new law. It must go through a brainstorming process to arrive at the concurred points which become the grounds of the law eventually.
It is scheduled to be debated on that the District Chief Executive (in the case of Basic Schools) will be responsible for appointing the Head (District Director) and Staff of the District Education Unit. This will have many problems to bear. The inclination that a political party enthusiast will be appointed is high. The political systems at the sub-national level of the country are polarised.
The recently failed attempt to amend the constitution that will allow for the election of the MMDCEs was as a result of the polarity of state institutions. Without properly planned checks and balances, there could be grounds for disaster in applying the rules and regulations governing the Ghana Education Service. There are victimizations within the Ghana Education Service.
There are a number of unnecessary transfers given to teachers by some Directors of Education whose underlying causes were party affiliations being different from cases reported by other teachers. Directors that are of the opposite political party sometimes get provoked and transfer teachers.
The current system does not provide the necessary checks and balances which will be relied on to curb such occurrences. Can teachers still participate in political activities as they do presently without being punished? Are there enough remedies available for the teachers to resort to when they are being victimized? What is the number of times for building a dossier for a teacher’s case and who is to sit on such cases?
Proper guidelines for the recruitment, promotion, transfer, discipline, and dismissal of teachers need to be outlined such that a fair law will be made and used. Without these, a looming chaos will be in the offing and that is dangerous for our educational system and its workers.
The questions asked are some alarms that need immediate redress before the bill becomes a law to haunt teachers. Therefore, it is necessary to capture the opinions of persons who have the requisite abilities to make the best of judgments and inputs in this area.
Many assemblies have enormous fiscal challenges perennially while others are underprivileged. For others, there are no sources of revenue and the common fund is the only guaranteed source of revenue for a whole fiscal year. In one of the schedules, teachers’ salaries shall be paid by the assemblies, which means the assembly will recruit teachers according to their ability to pay. This is very nebulous and clearer information must be given on that.
The payment of salaries of teachers will be in arrears for several months. There is no cynicism about this happening. Some assemblies find it extremely difficult to pay their utilities and casual labourers. The revenue capacity of some assemblies is very low and meeting their revenue targets becomes only a wish. Will the assemblies pay salaries of teachers from the Common Fund? Will the government establish an agency of the Controller and Accountant Generals-Department to the assemblies? These need to be addressed in the discussion stages of the bill otherwise it will put a great hurdle on the assemblies and their fiscal responsibilities.
Without the constant transfer of salaries of teachers to be paid at the assemblies, the deprived assemblies cannot pay the salaries of teachers. The income tax component of the teachers’ salaries have not been tackled. Are teachers to pay income taxes to the various assemblies or to the government at the central level?
In an attempt to refine the laws of the Ghana Education Service to reflect those set and practised globally, the law-makers must not overlook some pertinent issues which will affect the effective performance of the Ghana Education Service and the ultimate realization of the desired goals by the Ministry of Education. Therefore, there is a noble idea in putting on hold, the passage of this bill into law in this crisis period for more enthralled inputs from other stakeholders such as the Teacher Unions, to make the bill a looked-for when passed into law.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor – Kintampo SHS