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Opinions Thu, 3 Apr 2003

Why Merge the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sport?

The recent ministerial reshuffle in President Kufuor's government has impacted differently on different groups of Ghanaians and individuals. For example, to some Ghanaians, the extensive Cabinet reshuffle demonstrated that Kufour is in charge of his government ending the speculation that a few "arrogant" NPP gurus have hijacked Kufour's leadership role. To some of the affected ministers the reshuffle came as a surprise and "betrayal." To others, the reshuffle was long overdue.

However, to the General Secretary of the NDC, Dr. Josiah Aryeh, the cabinet reshuffle was just a means to give the top and lucrative ministries to the "Asante boys" and relations of President Kufour (see March 31st issue of the Free Press, Accra, Ghana). Well, Dr. Aryeh's point of view could be seen as a political criticism since he is on the other side of the political divide in Ghana. We may describe his as a political game, which obviously could be dirty at sometimes. Maybe, let's leave that game to the "professional" politicians.

I think one of the issues raised by Dr. Aryeh on President Kufour's cabinet reshuffle could not be, however, dismissed as a political gimmick. That's the merge of the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports with Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu as the sector minister. Though the sector has Ms. Christine Churcher as minister responsible for Girl-Child Education, Ms. Elizabeth Ohene as Minister of State for Tertiary Education and Mr. Rashid Bawa as Minister of State in the amalgamated ministry, merging Education, Youth and Sport ministries is not the best under any circumstance. Education is a big, big business to be run on its own! It is one ministry anywhere that is not easy to managed, hence the sector experiences change of ministers more often than any other ministry under any government be it in a developed economy like Ontario or a developing economy like Ghana. The records are there to support this assertion.

Also, sports has become a big business in the world today that governments will be better with as a ministry of it own. Unfortunately, in Ghana, the politics of sports has made the now merged Ministry of Youth and Sports to play to the gallery of sports at great disadvantage of youth affairs over the past few years! No wonder, the country in the 1970s separated Youth and Sports as a Ministry from the then Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports/Culture for the sake of efficient management. The problems of amalgamating "big" sectors of management into a mega-sector as the case of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports can not be overemphasized. They range from in-fighting among the top ranking administrators to overt neglect of weak or small sectors within the merger.

The Sector of Education alone already has competing divisions for resources that demand efficient and pragmatic management. These divisions include primary education, secondary education, tertiary education cum teacher education and the non-formal education. We are unaware of the struggles and politics at the corridors of the Ministry of Education (MOE) which for the past two years enstrangled rapid development at the Ministry. I may not be wrong to suggest that Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi has been sacrificed at the altar of politics at MOE to appease the infatigable Minister of Girl-Child Education at the now Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. I stand to be corrected.

Arguably, the Ministry of Education like the Ministry of Youth and Sports has too much politics around its leadership that the two should not be merged with four powerful ministers of state steer its affairs. It is said that too many cooks spoil the soup. President Kufour, please, take a second look at the merger of the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports.

Joe Kingsley Eyiah (Ph. D. Candidate)
Dept. of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL)
The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.
Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley