General News Sat, 30 Sep 2006

Use Churches, Community Centers as Classrooms

...Measures to address challenges of Capitation grant
Takoradi, Sept. 30, GNA -- Government has directed Heads of basic schools in the country to use church buildings, community centres and other public places as temporary classrooms with the overwhelming increase in school enrolment.

Enrolment in basic schools increased from about 3.7 million in the 2004/2005 academic year to more than 4.3 million in 2005/2006 academic year representing an increase of more than 616,000 pupils.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of Education, Science and Sports who announced this on Friday said in addition, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directors of Education had been asked to consider the immediate re-introduction of the shift system in schools.

'These are 'stop-gap measures' being adopted to address some of the challenges posed by the introduction of the Capitation grant, ' he added.

Papa Owusu Ankomah was inaugurating Western Region branch of the National Association of Retired Educationists (NARED) at Takoradi. He said some semi-permanent classrooms that would be converted into permanent structures were under construction for "rapid response" to the problems of overcrowding in schools.

In addition, 1,400 schools identified about two years ago to be conducting classes under trees, would be provided with classrooms within the next three years under a special programme.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said to address the problem of shortage of teachers; Government was vigorously pursuing and expanding a special teacher-training programme through distance education using information and communication technology (ICT).

In September last year, about 8,000 teachers were enrolled under the programme and the number was expected to increase in future. Papa Owusu Ankomah said Government was alive to its responsibility to motivate teachers adequately since "beautiful infrastructure and inputs will not necessarily in themselves make good schools," but the calibre of the teacher.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said Government was determined to resolve all impasse in the education sector with a more acceptable salary and conditions of service for teachers and other workers within the public service in a more holistic and sustainable manner.

He appealed to members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) to call off their strike action and return to the classrooms while their grievances were being addressed.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said the decision to form an association by retired educationists was laudable and expressed Government's gratitude to them for their selfless and committed service to the country.

Mr Joseph Quansah, Western Regional Chairman of the association said most teachers retired with accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experience untapped causing "intellectual loss to the state".
He said members of the association would coordinate their activities with education authorities to explore how best they could be useful to society.
The association has about 150 members and efforts are being made to form branches in all the regions.


Source: GNA