One of the National Democratic Congress’ Manifesto spokespersons on Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says his party’s policy document is tailored towards addressing the “crisis” in basic education.
The NDC feels the Akufo-Addo administration has neglected basic education in favour of secondary education.
“We take the view that basic education is in crisis. There is such a wide chasm [between private and public basic schools],” Mr. Ablakwa, a former Deputy Education Minister, said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
“Increasingly, funding is being taken away from basic education to the second cycle. There is no problem spending more on the second cycle. However, you must make sure you don’t neglect basic education,” he stated.
He explained that the realisation of the NDC’s manifesto will see the gap between private basic and public basic schools bridged.
“You want to make sure the foundation has been addressed. That is why you see interventions in preschool. We are not doing well with preschool.”
The shortfall of trained teachers at the basic level is another area the NDC wants to address.
“At that level, we are still dealing with the issue of the trained teacher deficit. There is a gap there that needs to be filled,” Mr. Ablakwa stated.
In addition to personnel, he said there were also struggles with infrastructure.
“In this modern era, we should all feel embarrassed that we will have basic schools that just come up under trees and makeshift facilities.”
“Once you get basic education right, you can expect other aspects to do well,” Mr. Ablakwa added.
Promises on basic education
The NDC has said its vision for education will revolve around quality, access and relevance.
In its manifesto, its focus on basic education will entail investment in reading, writing and arithmetic.
Among others, the NDC in its manifesto promised to:
a. Expand and refurbish educational facilities to make them fit for 21st-century education
b. Provide all eligible children especially those in under-served areas, with the necessary support and incentives to remain in school,
c. Increase budgetary allocation to basic education to enhance teaching and learning activities
d. Provide pre-school facilities closer to markets, ministries and city centres to ease the burden of child-care on mothers and promote productivity while the children learn
e. Encourage the private sector to invest in pre-schools and recreational facilities for their workers
f. Ensure quality learning through the allocation of teachers, improved pedagogy, appropriate learning spaces, provision of teaching and learning materials and effective supervision, and motivation and support of teachers