Presbyterian Church Reacts to Education Report

( [email protected] ) Jun 26, 2003 01:23 PM EDT

After taking office, one of the major decisions taken by the Kufuor Administration was to set up an advisory committee into Ghana's education. The committee has presented a report to the President. The following is the reaction of a church group on the report. The churches in Ghana play an important role in the country's educational system.

The Advocacy Group on a Comprehensive Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy for Ghana agrees with the findings of the report of the President's Committee on Review of Education Reforms in Ghana, and urges the Government to act with dispatch on the report, especially the TVET Section, to help Ghana derive maximum benefits from the sector.

The Group considers the report of the Committee to be a major step towards the development of technical and vocational education in Ghana, and a timely response to the need for a skilled labour force that would propel Ghana's industry to higher heights, and also abate the growing incidence of unemployment confronting the youth.

The Group, which is made up of representatives of various interest groups involved in the provision of technical and vocational training including the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Christian Council, the Methodist Church, Anglican Church, E.P Church, Ghana Catholic Church (Ho and Koforidua Dioceses) and heads of vocational and technical institutions, has been canvassing for a comprehensive TVET policy for Ghana in the last three years.

It would be recalled that the Group, led by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the General Secretary of the Christian Council, met the Vice President Aliu Mahama and the three Ministers responsible for Education, Manpower Development and Economic Planning in April 2002 to discuss developments in their sector. They stressed the need for a comprehensive policy to regulate the sector taking into account the opportunity lost to Ghana as a result of uncoordinated policy direction.

The Group was pleased with the recognition of the importance of the sector by His Excellency and the pledge by "His Excellency to work closely with the Ministers whose schedules impinge on the sector for the development of the appropriate policy framework for the sector".

The Group agrees to the conclusion of the President's Education Committee in the report that "A serious deficiency in the present public education system is the neglect of the TVET sub-sector" and the urge that "it is therefore necessary to develop, modernize and expand TVET Institutions as a matter of urgency" (Paragraph 3.2 of the Executive Report).

We also find as forward looking the call by the Committee that the "Government should make a major shift in its state education policy in favour of the TVET sub- sector, in order to build the nation's stock of human capital and give employable skills to the numerous youth all over the country" (Paragraph 3.2.4)

As stakeholder, we welcome the recommendation that "A national Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) should be established under the office of the President to co-ordinate pre-tertiary TVET in the country (Paragraph as a bold step necessary for enhanced recognition of the TVET Sector as well as improved coordination which has eluded the sector for ages."

The Advocacy Group is convinced that the recommendation of the Committee are important in the context of the NPP's 2000 Manifesto, which analyzed the unemployment situation in the country to be quiet precarious and thus "creating a potentially explosive sub-sector of the society". The NPP pledged to ensure that "the labour force is trained to meet the emerging knowledge-based industries" as one of its strategies to fight unemployment.

It is also significant that the call for an expedited comprehensive policy framework for the TVET Sector is in conformity with the commitment of the Government in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy to fight poverty through the "Development of Policy to stimulate and regulate vocational and technical training."

We also wish to remind the Ministry of Education of the existence at the Ministry of the Draft TVET Policy which converges in many ways with the recommendations of the President's Education Review Committee and which should make it possible for the Ministry to expeditiously push through the required policy framework.

Finally we pledge on behalf of the religious bodies and other relevant stakeholders to cooperate fully with the Government and other relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies in moving the TVET Sector to its rightful place.