Accra, April 11, GNA - Participants from various political parties at a forum on Capitation Grant on Tuesday urged the Government to address the teething problems emerging from the implementation of the Capitation Grant policy.
They said the policy had resulted in an increase in enrolment, which was laudable, but the problem of infrastructure, inadequate teachers and bureaucratic practices involved in accessing the Grant if not checked would not help the Government to achieve its aim.
The Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP); Convention People's Party (CPP); People National Convention (PNC) and the Eagle Party were the parties present.
The forum which formed part of activities to mark this year Global Action Week was intended to create a platform for political parties, head teachers, parents and pupils to debate and share ideas to ensure that the Grant did not only bring about increase in enrolment at the basic level but also guaranteed quality basic education for all children.
It was organized by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) and sponsored by OXFAM, UNESCO, Action AID and Plan International, under the theme; Capitation Grant: Will It Help To Achieve Free Quality Basic Education For All Ghanaian Children by 2015?
It was to discuss how much the Ghana Education Service (GES) had allocated and released to District Education Directorates, Education financing and sustainability of the scheme and how effective the grants were utilized at the school level with emphasis on participatory planning and implementation.
Mr Bernard Mornah, National Youth Organiser of PNC, said there was no substitute for education and lauded the implementation of the Grant but questioned its ability to achieve free compulsory basic education for all children of school going age.
He said the 37 per cent increase in school enrolment did not commensurate with an equal increase in teacher ratio in the classroom, which had therefore led to overcrowding in the classrooms. Mr Mornah said despite the additional burden on teachers their salaries remained the same adding that administrative bottlenecks were hampering the implementation of the Grant.
He said only 3.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product was spent on education when it should have been between five and seven per cent, adding that the 30,000 cedis per pupil was woefully inadequate. Mr Daniel Ofori Atta, Chairman and Leader of the Eagle Party, said the Government did not plan well for the implementation of the Grant and that was why it was facing problems.
He said the Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE) Pprogramme was not an NPP initiative but a constitutional requirement to provide free compulsory basic education for all children 10 years ago, adding that the implementation of the policy was, however, good but the Government did not attach much seriousness in addressing the emerging problems. He called on GNECC to help to come out with figures on the number of school blocks, tables and chairs needed to address the infrastructure problem.
He said it was the duty of the Government to provide school uniforms and transportation for school pupils.
Mr Daniel Lartey, Founder and Leader of the GCPP, said education should be fee free and compulsory from the basic to the tertiary level since Ghana was still a developing country in order to train quality human resource that would manage the country in the future.
Ms Patricia Wilson, Headmistress of Amamomo 2 A and B Primary Schools, said the implementation procedure was cumbersome and time consuming and that Head Teachers were sometimes unable to carryout their supervisory role as expected.