North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has described as a “national disgrace” recent events in the educational sector where some teachers in the Ashanti region had to write examination questions on the chalkboard following a directive by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to heads of schools not to collect printing fees from the pupils.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Ablakwa said Ghana must strive to move forward and not retrogress.
His full post read: “Our nation MUST always strive to move forward not retrogress.
“Chalkboards replacing printed examination papers is simply a national disgrace.
“Basic school teachers and our children in public basic schools have done nothing wrong to deserve such cruelty.
“Between 2013 and 2016, while we do not claim to have solved all the challenges at that level – the Ministry of Education procured and distributed 54,000 laptops to basic school teachers; another 60,000 computers to stock basic schools; increased the capitation grant (basic schools in 75 deprived districts received a 100% rise in addition to base grants ranging from GHS 800 to GHS 1,200 per term which was used by head teachers as additional funds to run their schools); provided 12.8 million core text books and handed over some 2.5 million dictionaries.
“The records also show that the Mahama Administration completed the following projects at the basic level:
1,129 classroom blocks,
1,211 sanitary facilities,
622 school rehabilitations and
73 teacher accommodation blocks.
“Apart from significantly increasing the number of trained teachers from 58.4% to 78.0%; we vigorously fought teacher absenteeism, which was then an epidemic, and successfully supervised a decline from 27% in 2012 to 7% by 2016.
“It is also not clear what has become of President Mahama’s free sandals and Prof. Mills’ free uniforms initiatives. 40,000 pupils benefited from the made-in-Ghana leather sandals in 2016 while from 2013 to 2016 – 787,485 school uniforms were donated to basic school pupils.
“Listening to the harrowing accounts of teachers and union leaders on the state of basic education, which is the foundation and therefore the most important level; President Akufo-Addo’s Administration ought to change course and give it the attention deserved.
“Regardless of the noisy economic claims, let us remember that the vast majority of our people can still not afford superior quality private basic education, therefore, it is most imperative that we fix the current mess if our nation is to be guaranteed a future of opportunities and shared prosperity.
“I am genuinely scared that if we continue at this rate, we risk a monumental slump in quality beyond the current intolerable levels and in the process, erode all gains including the historic BECE performance of 2016.”