The Editor of ‘The Business Finder’, Toma Imirhe is recommending an increment in Ghana’s education budget to support the critical needs of students.
Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme the Big Issue, he also suggested that the increment of the education budget should be at the “expense of some of the jamborees” and other frivolous spending of government.
“The fact is that education is the best way to empower the citizenry…so I really believe that we should increase the education budget at the expense of some of the jamborees,” he said.
According to him, government’s decision to bid for the hosting rights for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) should not be a priority at a time when every resource is needed to support major sectors of the economy including education.
“We want to go and host AFCON 2017. What are our priorities? Is it hosting things like that or is it giving our kids proper education?” Imirhe asked.
[contextly_sidebar id=”lSu3UvxcKflcvVNWiwMWmVryamigRXFH”]The country’s education system is facing major challenges although the Education Ministry and the Ghana Education Service (GES) insist the situation is not as dire as it is being portrayed.
A report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has stated that Ghana’s education at all levels is below international standards.
In the 2014 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), over 7,000 students failed in all subjects.
Also, an “Early Grade Reading Assessment” undertaken by the GES revealed that 98% of primary two pupils could neither read nor understand English.
The Acting Director General of the GES, Charles Aheto Tsegah in an earlier interview with Citi News admitted that results from the survey was “unacceptable” but appealed to Ghanaians to exercise patience as they put measures in place to rectify the problem.
“It’s a challenge,” he acknowledged, “we are not denying it at all but we are not sitting down and not do anything about it. We are making a lot of efforts to address it.”
The Education Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman subsequently directed all heads and teachers of basic schools to desist from using the English language as the sole medium of instruction in the classrooms.
According Toma Imirhe, if the demands of the educational sector are bigger than what is being budgeted for, “I really believe that it should be a priority to squeeze money from other things and increase that budget.”
He pointed out that Ghana has an existing poverty situation therefore, “the best way you can eliminate those things is to make sure the people have a functional proper education.”
He advised that government should not compare the education budget to other sectors, adding that, “if at the end of the day, the educational budget happens to be three, four times the budget of some other sectors, so be it. I think that it’s more important than other sectors.”
Imirhe also clarified that “health is just as important, security is important but there are a lot of other sectors where I think we can cut and take our money.”
Speaking on the dedication of teachers to their profession, the ‘Business Finder’ Editor said most people consider teaching as “plan B”.
“Teachers like everybody else are increasingly looking for how to make extra money on the side rather than facing their core duty.”
He was certain that if the government increases the salaries of teachers, they will “still be looking for something extra because we are talking about maximizing income, it’s not just a matter of how much you are earning but whether there is any other way to earn more and it shows up a lot in the teaching profession.”
“When a teacher is not fully committed, It is going to reflect in the quality of those people are being taught,” he added.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana