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Action Aid International Ghana and the New Education Reforms

Fri, 9 May 2008 Source: GNA

A GNA Feature By Samuel Adadi Akapule

Bolgatanga, May 7, GNA - When it comes to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have contributed immensely to the development of education in Ghana, one cannot miss the fact that Action Aid International, Ghana (AAIG) is one of such organizations. It has played tremendous roles to the educational sector in Ghana, especially with the new Education Reforms.

Educational systems are reviewed periodically to ensure that they become responsive to current challenges of society as a dynamic institution. Ghana has since independence gone through a number of educational reviews in search of a system that would be responsive to emerging challenges in a fast changing world driven by science and technology.

One of such reviews gave birth to the current Education Reforms, which came into full operation in September 2007. The effective implementation of the Reforms would depend on all stakeholders in education and not only teachers. It is in the light of this that AAIG has to be commended for its giant contribution. AAIG for the past decade and half has been partnering and collaborating with relevant stakeholders such as the District Assemblies; Ghana Education Service (GES); Parent Teacher Associations and communities, particularly in the Upper East Region, to design and implement projects and programmes that would make quality education accessible to the rural deprived child.

It has supported the GES to organise a series of in-service training workshops with the aim of equipping teachers with new and adequate skills on the Reforms, especially in parts of the three Northern Regions.

AAIG recently supported the organisation of one such workshop in Tongo, the District Capital of the Talensi-Nabdam, recently The sensitization workshop on the newly education reforms brought together Circuit Supervisors and selected heads of schools. AAIG has also constructed a number of schools, provided them with furniture and books, particularly in the three deprived Northern Regions and this is helping and benefiting the people. In the 23 communities in the Bolgatanga Municipality and the Talensi-Nabdam District, AAIG has provided blocks classrooms and furniture. The beneficiary communities include Yariga Bisi; Tong-Beon; Kpatia and Shiega.

Speaking at one of the workshops on Education Reforms, Mr Alhassan Sulemana, a Senior Programme Officer of AAIG, said the Organisation considered education as a fundamental human right, a core element of development and the right that enabled people to access and enjoy other rights. Consequently it worked with excluded groups and stakeholders in education to challenge the commoditization of education, democratize the learning process so that all children had free access to quality education within an equitable system and to ensure that the Government fully assumed its obligations to provide quality basic education for all.

He explained that recently AAIG has widened its net to include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) having realized that the central role of the teacher in the success of any educational reform system was very crucial.

"Indeed I will say without reservation that no matter the well intentioned policy and programmes that one puts on the Education Sector, without the teacher those interventions are bound to fail", Mr Sulemana indicated, saying that it was, therefore, imperative for AAIG to work closely with the Teachers Unions to ensure that the teacher was adequately motivated and provided with the necessary information, skills to be able to carry out his or her responsibility effectively and efficiently

The Senior Programme officer explained that AAIG saw its support to the educational sector as part of its corporate and social responsibility to complement government's efforts to deliver quality education and that was why it collaborating with GNAT to carry out its educational programmes.

Mr Cofie Linus Attey, Upper East Regional Secretary of GNAT, in his welcoming address urged the Government to expedite action on improving the conditions of service of teachers and to sponsor Teachers on the Distance Teaching Learning Programmes. This, he noted, would see the implementation of the New Education Reforms go through effectively and efficiently without encountering much difficulties.

Columnist: GNA