Discussants at the Second Colloquium organised by the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), have called on the Ministry of Education to engage professional Educational Planners to effectively plan Ghana’s education system to increase access and, ensure quality and relevance.
The programme which was on the theme “The Role of Educational Planning in Enhancing Ghana’s Education System: Access, Quality and Relevance” brought together stakeholders in Education including, representatives of the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ghana Education Service (GES); Directors of Education, traditional leaders, lecturers, senior administrators, teachers among others.
The discussants were a former Director of IEPA, Prof. Yaw Afari Ankomah; President, Conference of Directors of Education, Mrs. Margaret Frempong-Kore and a representative of the Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation (PBME) Department of the Ministry of Education, Mr Benard Ayensu.
The discussants expressed worry that most of the planners at MoE and GES do not possess the requisite skills and training in Educational Planning to put in place strategies to create a successful and supportive environment that would enhance teaching and learning at every part of the country. This according to the discussants had accounted for the poor infrastructural facilities and lack of personnel in some rural communities in the country. They agreed that employing qualified Educational Planners would ensure that there was equal access to educational facilities and qualified teachers even in the rural areas of the country.
Educational Implementation Important Component of the Planning Process
Prof. Ankomah noted that educational implementation was an important component in the planning process and, therefore, urged GES and MoE to involve all key stakeholders in the planning stages stressing that “If you don’t involve them, you don’t empower them”. He said the engagement should be done right from the beginning of the planning process to enable them to make their inputs. “When this is done then the implementation becomes easy and they will own it at the beginning stages,” he noted.
Politicisation of Educational Issues
Prof. Ankomah decried the politicisation of educational issues in the country and noted that the situation was hampering development in the education sector. “Let’s take politics from education and see education as a way of transforming individuals to function effectively in society and contribute towards national development,” he advised.
The former Director of IEPA urged MoE to engage the services Educational Planners trained by IEPA to effectively assist in the planning of educational programmes and policies in the country to yield the desired results. “IEPA has trained several Educational Planners but these people are not engaged to interrogate data and make informed decisions to improve the quality of education in the country,” he noted.
Centralised System of Education
On her part, Mrs. Frempong-Kore raised concerns about the centralised system which, she said was a hindrance to the work of Directors of Education at the Regional and District levels. She indicated that as implementers, they were expected to be involved in the processes leading to the formulation of educational policies and programmes. “Whenever the plans and policies are formulated we do not come in. They do everything at the top and they ask us to implement them,” she stressed.
Mrs. Frempong-Kore, therefore, called for social dialogue with the implementers so that they could also engage the heads of schools as well as members of the communities on government’s plans and policies on education. “Implementers should be able to raise issues and say this is what is happening on the ground can you do something about them” she noted. She was hopeful that the Ministry of Education would listen to them and engage all stakeholders to improve upon the standard of education in the country.
Ministry of Education will Act on Communiqué of Colloquium
Taking his turn, Mr. Ayensu confirmed that most of the planners in the Ministry had no background in Educational Planning; however, they had received some form of training “I did Planning at KNUST and I now find myself at PBME, but we have gone through some level of training and Prof. Ankomah was our facilitator,” he explained.
Mr. Ayensu assured that he would convey the resolutions of the colloquium for his superiors to act on them.
In his address, the Deputy Director-General of GES, Dr. Kwabena Bempah Tandoh, congratulated IEPA on its upgrade to United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Category II Institute. He also commended IEPA for contributing significantly towards the growth and development of the education sector. He gave the assurance that government would continue to support the Institute to do more to ensure that quality research outcomes of the Institute were adopted for the right purposes.
Dr. Tandoh described the theme for the colloquium as apt adding that, “It succinctly captures the essence of the direction in which our education system is heading and the planning dimensions therein”. He noted that “proper educational planning ensures institutional success, by helping to clearly define goals and how they can be achieved”. He further indicated that “It saves time and helps manage efficiently the limited resources available. As a developing country and with our multi-dimensional challenges not only in the education sector but across the broad national spectrum, it is particularly important to avoid waste.”
IEPA Upgraded to UNESCO Category II Institute
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah whose address was delivered by the Dean of the School of Educational Development and Outreach, Prof. Ernest Kofi Davies, said IEPA had been at the forefront in the training of educational administrators, managers and planners in the country since its establishment in 1975. He noted that the colloquium was a demonstration of IEPA’s leading role in education and Educational Planning.
“It is also timely because come January 2020, IEPA will be upgraded to a UNESCO Category II Institute, hence a regional centre of excellence with its main mandate emphasising on Educational Planning,” he indicated.
Prof. Ampiah further said the colloquium could not have come at a better time when Ghana’s education system was experiencing transformation and expected to create a culture of learning that connects students with relevant and authentic learning experiences to make them globally competent.