Hon Peter Notsu-Kotoe, the Ranking member on Education Committee of Parliament has said that based on his observations of the work undertaken during the two year in office of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government, the Education Sector has been moving backwards when compared with achievements in the sector during the previous National Democratic Congress government.
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe who is the Member of Parliament for the Akatsi North constituency questioned the poor implementation of the free Senior High School and the double track system.
The Akatsi North MP was reacting to the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government presented to parliament by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Thursday.
The budget to the House was in line with Article 179(1) of the 1992 Constitution, and as it demands, members are to scrutinise the document before giving the minister the authority to spend the amount requested for.
The chairman of the Education Committee of Parliament, Stevens Siaka, MP, Jaman North, and Peter Nortsu Kotoe, locked horns on the education sector on Wednesday.
Mr Siaka, said the Akufo-Addo government since assuming political office, apart from implementing the free Senior High School policy, was also embarking on developing the basic and pre-school sectors to give pupils sound educational foundations.
“Mr Speaker, President Akufo-Addo and his team have demonstrated that indeed they are in to bring complete transformation of our educational sector,” he stated.
According to him, 1,171 kindergarten and primary schools have been earmarked to be provided out of which 90 have been completed, adding that, the NPP government was also to rehabilitate 52 collapsing schools.
But in a rebuttal, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe said the Chairman was not factual to the issues nd that more than 1,700 basic school facilities earmarked for construction, “I know for sure that less than 100 were awarded in 2018 but the number completed so far is not even up to 20 so his information to this House is not correct.”
According to him, there were still schools he knew which were without desks and textbooks and that the committee chairman did not paint the true picture of situations on the ground.
“We are having a big challenge at the basic education level and if care is not taken, the downward trend that was reported by the World Bank in its human capital project will continue to affect this country. So there is the need for the redirection of basic education,” Mr Nortsu-Kotoe added.
The MP accused the government of being insensitive to the plight of teachers and as well to be blamed for the reported poor performance of fresh teachers in the licensure examinations and charged the Minister of Education to provide further and better particulars for the planned affiliation of Colleges of Education to the traditional universities
He told THE REPUBLIC that, the claims by government that teachers trainee allowance have been paid to date was not true and that information available to from the Colleges of Education indicated that, the trainee received allowance up to only June, this year.
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe further contended that, the double track system introduced by the government was not only affecting quality of education, but has the tendency of making teachers unproductive.
He also castigated the Education Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, for lying to the fact that, it was not true that children whose parents do not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) will not benefit from Free SHS.
The Akatsi North MP said, The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, during his presentation of the 2019 budget said “the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 lists many services and transactions that cannot be accessed by individuals without TIN. Unfortunately, compliance with these requirements has been low.”
“In 2019, we will begin to apply sanctions to state and private entities that fail to enforce these TIN requirements. Additionally, government, in providing social services and benefits provided by the state, will require beneficiaries or their guardians to have a TIN. These will complement the current efforts by the GRA to get more persons and businesses on their radar.”
The Director of the Revenue Division at the Finance Ministry, Anthony Dzadra, has also subsequently advised parents who do not have the TINs to endeavour to get registered or risk having their children and wards barred from benefiting from the free SHS programme, beginning from the 2019 academic year.
This, the Minority Spokesperson on Education, questioned government’s commitment to ensuring access to education with the decision to exempt children whose parents did not have the TIN.
He urged the Ministry of Education to design clear plans to solve these problems in the education sector rather than just waste money.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba