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Education Think Tank, Africa Education Watch, has urged the government to increase the basic education share of the country’s education sector expenditure by at least 50% particularly to deprived public basic schools.
This comes as part of its recommendations of a research work it launched on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, themed ‘A Study into the extent of deprivation in basic schools in deprived areas and its impact on learning outcomes findings.’
The work Education Spike Research revealed the deplorable state of many basic public schools in the country.
It revealed poor teacher deployment, lack of textbooks, desks, washrooms, water, school buildings among others as hindrances to the achievement of quality education at the basic level.
It found out, “thirteen out of seventeen schools in both Zabzugu and Nkwanta districts lacked furniture for both teachers and learners. Students had to share a dual desk while some sat on benches, stools, stones, and floors to study”.
As a result, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch “says we must be more concerned about equitable distribution of resources and the distribution of quality education to the poorest and deprived communities rather than pride ourselves with the numbers which favor urban schools”.
He said, “We must begin to measure our success as a ministry and as a country based on how many children, we are able to provide teachers for, how many schools under trees we are able to eliminate, how many students from deprived districts are improving their English and mathematics proficiency levels.”
“This is how we must measure our achievements. It is most important that we recognize that we must increase basic education share of the education sector expenditure to at least 50% while ensuring spending efficiency”.
He said adequate funding will improve the quality of public basic education in deprived communities. He also added that the “government must rationalize teacher deployment by reposting teachers that are surplus to manpower requirement in urban areas to rural communities.”
It also recommended that support systems must be provided to facilitate learner’s transfer to JHS to ensure children in communities without JHS can complete basic schools”.
Meanwhile, the Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Joseph Kwame Kumah, who described the proposals by the Education Think Tank as laudable said the government’s focus to see to the success of the free SHS policy is diverting attention on the need to focus on basic public schools in the country.
Addressing the media after the launch, he said a critical look at allocating equitable funds to basic public schools will go a long way to improve the quality of education at the basic level.
“The issue of sponsorship of basic education in the country is very necessary. In the present state, I feel that the government is just trying to push all the money into sponsorship of free SHS to the disadvantage of the basic public schools. It is not good enough, we need to revisit the budget because the whole budget, there is no mention of infrastructure for basic education”.
“What you will hear about basic education is just curriculum and then aptitude tests for teachers and training of teachers. When you come to think of the problems Africa Education Watch has revealed, it means we are not there yet”.