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NDC ‘ridiculed’ Free SHS but’ve now U-turned with ‘review’ promise – Opoku Prempeh

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Education Minister Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) “ridiculed” the idea of a free senior high school policy when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised it in the lead-up to the 2016 general elections, but the same critics have now made a U-turn and promised to review it should they win the 7 December 2020 polls.

Presenting a statement on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, 11 August 2020, Dr Opoku Prempeh said: “Mr. Speaker, we all know that, in 2016, many ridiculed our capacity to implement the programme, citing unavailability of funding, inadequate physical classroom structures and other school facilities to support implementation, among others”.

He said: “Seeing how successful the programme’s implementation has been with such important policies such as the Double-Track Year-Round Calendar, sustainable funding strategies, among others, our opponents are making a U-turn and promising a review of the programme if they win power in the 2020 elections, except they have failed to specifically say what aspect they will review, and to what end and purpose”.

According to him, “it is also instructive to note that under the Progressively Free SHS policy touted by the NDC when it was in government, they left arrears of GHS 30,120,552.00 (thirty million, one hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and fifty-two Ghana cedis) in respect of the 2015/16 academic year when the programme started with day students only”.

“That has since been paid by the Akufo-Addo-led government”, he reported to Parliament, adding: “Nothing at all was paid by the NDC in respect of the 120,000 boarding students to be catered for under the high-sounding Progressively Free programme in the 2016/17 academic year”.

Just recently, Mr Mahama said he had no intentions whatsoever of abolishing the free senior high school policy instituted by President Akufo-Addo.

Speaking at the Dagbon Overlord’s palace during a courtesy call on the Ya Na as part of his campaign tours of the Northern Region, the flag bearer of the NDC, said: “Free Senior High School education has come to stay”.

“If anybody tells you that I, John Dramani Mahama, son of E.A Mahama, will abolish Free SHS when I come, tell the person he is a bloody liar”, he insisted.

According to him, “What I am against is the poor implementation of the free SHS, which is creating great inconvenience for the parents, for the students and for the teachers and the point I have made is that we can make it better.”

“If this government had followed our plan of continuing with the 200 new Senior High Schools that we were building, we will not have the current situation that we have in our free SHS plan”, he said.

Read Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh’s full statement below:

PARLIAMENTARY STATEMENT ON EDUCATION AND TEACHER REFORMS

BY DR. MATTHEW OPOKU PREMPEH, HONOURABLE MINISTER OF EDUCATION

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to make a statement on this government’s achievements in the education sector, with particular focus on access, equity, quality and teacher education reforms.

Mr. Speaker, in December 2016, Ghanaians gave the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo a four-year mandate to govern this country, following their appreciation of our manifesto pledges and policies as being capable of positioning our country on a better footing for a brighter future.

The NPP government quickly set to work, to implement our core electoral promises, in fulfilment of that sacred and solemn covenant with the people. Three and half years on, the achievements speak for itself, and remain a blueprint for the future of this country. Mr. Speaker, Ghana leads countries like Taiwan, Singapore and Japan in natural resource endowment. However, these countries continue to stimulate the most successful development stories, growing at significantly faster rates than Ghana, partly because they invest heavily in their citizens’ education, training and vital skills acquisition.

Our over reliance on natural resources which are finite, to drive our development agenda is unsustainable. Investing in human capital and building stronger economic value of the citizenry rather, as in the case of Taiwan, Singapore and Japan, is regarded as a significant force multiplier that creates limitless potentials.

Mr. Speaker, the focus on education and acquisition of essential 21st century skills for the new millennium learners is now pervasive than it was in the past, across the world.

It is on record, empirically, that every single year of schooling raises earnings by 10 per cent, a rate of return that is obviously higher than alternative investments in bonds, stocks, deposits, among others. That is why the country is determined to develop our human capital capacity.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to providing our citizens with the requisite knowledge, skills and experiences, needed to lift them from deprivation to the path of prosperity. Education is the shortest pathway between deprivation and opportunity, between despair and hope, between helplessness and promise. It gives meaning to the preamble of the 1992 Constitution, which among other things, provides that we “secure for ourselves and posterity, the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity.”

Mr. Speaker, when we came into government, we made an immediate and remarkable strides in education by rolling out our flagship Free SHS programme in September 2017, just 9 months into our first year in office.

It was a promise to the people of Ghana and we kept it.

To date, over 1.2 million students have benefited from the Free SHS programme which has expanded access to secondary education and enabled an extra 400,000 students to enroll in Senior High School. Despite few initial challenges in respect of implementation, Ghanaians have largely embraced this programme and the testimonies are endless. Mr. Speaker, we all know that, in 2016, many ridiculed our capacity to implement the programme, citing unavailability of funding, inadequate physical classroom structures and other school facilities to support implementation, among others.

Seeing how successful the programme’s implementation has been with such important policies such as the Double-Track Year-Round Calendar, sustainable funding strategies, among others, our opponents are making a U-turn and promising a review of the programme if they win power in the 2020 elections, except they have failed to specifically say what aspect they will review, and to what end and purpose.

Mr. Speaker, it is also instructive to note, that under the Progressively Free SHS policy touted by the NDC when it was in government, they left arrears of GHS 30,120,552.00 (thirty million, one hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and fifty-two Ghana Cedis) in respect of the 2015/16 academic year when the programme started with day students only. That has since been paid by the Akufo-Addo led government. Nothing at all was paid by the NDC in respect of the 120,000 boarding students to be catered for under the high-sounding Progressively Free programme in the 2016/17 academic year.

Mr. Speaker, Notwithstanding the initial hiccups, the Free SHS programme is here to stay and we are confident that the generality of Ghanaians are fully behind it. Mr. Speaker, let me assure the house that President Akufo-Addo is committed to ensuring that no child in this country will ever be left behind or denied access to senior high school education for the sole reason that their family is unable to pay for their education.

Mr. Speaker, in our effort to achieve greater access to education, we recognise that access alone is no adequate in guaranteeing the quality education we desire. For this reason, government is committed to ensuring quality and relevant education that will produce confident, skilled and global citizens who are ready and able to compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.

Mr. Speaker, we have, from the very beginning of this administration, resolved to pursue bold and transformative measures to address fundamental challenges that had undermined education, including in particular, access to, equity in and quality of education. Permit me to run through some of the key measures taken.

First, basic schools had high incidence of fees and levies as Capitation Grant amount of GHS 4.5 per child per year that we came to meet was woefully inadequate. Research conducted by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in 2015 revealed that fees and levies charged to pupils hindered access and effective participation in basic education to those who had difficulty paying fees and levies imposed by the schools. Effective 2017/18 academic year, Capitation Grant amount was increased from GHS 4.5 per student per year to GHS 10.0 per student per year. The 122% increase in per capita Capitation Grant has contributed to removing the cost barriers to free access and provide schools with minimum amount of funds required to keep schools running.

Mr. Speaker, significant numbers of teachers in our public basic schools were untrained. In 2016, the ratio of pupil to trained teacher was 1:52 at the kindergarten and 1:43 at primary level.

Similarly, the percentage of trained teachers was 66% at the kindergarten level and 78% at the primary level. To improve the quality of education, we have had to increase the supply of trained teachers to our basic schools. Within the period, the pupil to trained teacher ratio has improved to 1:37 at the kindergarten level and 1:33 at the primary level in 2019.

The percentage of trained teachers has also improved to 88% at the primary level. In addition, we met huge outstanding bills under the leadership of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as Minister of Education, on key supplies for education service delivery.

There was outstanding bill of approximately GHS 9m on Capitation Grant, GHS 4m on Feeding Grant for Special Schools, GHS 14m on exercise books to basic schools, and GHS 4m on the supply of school uniforms among many others.

Moreover, there were delays in the disbursement of capitation and feeding grants for Special Schools affecting the effective operation of the schools.

Within the period, the government has cleared all the arrears and ensured timely release of capitation and feeding grants for Special Schools. Mr. Speaker, learning outcomes were low across our pre-tertiary levels of education. Both in 2013 and 2015 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematic Assessment (EGMA) results showed that by the end of P2, only 2% or less of pupils can read with fluency and comprehension, while the majority of pupils don’t perform well in mathematics beyond the procedural level. In the National Education Assessment (NEA) conducted in 2016, only 11% of Primary 6 pupils were proficient in Mathematics. Mr. Speaker, it is heartwarming to note that the well thought out initiatives pursued since 2017 are beginning to yield results. In the 2018 National Education Assessment proficiency rate in Mathematics increased from 11% in 2016 to 22% in 2018.

At the secondary level, performance in WASSCE was poor. From 2011 to 2016, approximately 75% of all Candidates failed to achieved qualification for tertiary education. In 2015, approximately 49% of candidates scored F9 in mathematics and 37% of candidates scored F9 in Integrated Science. To improve performance, we have invested in the supply relevant instructional resources to schools, recruited and deployed teachers, provided in-service training to teachers with a focus on mathematics and science, and strengthened school leadership and management.

In 2019, pass rate in Mathematics reached 65%, the highest ever since the exams was introduced decades ago. Similarly, the proportion of students that score F9 in mathematics has declined from 45% in 2015 to 14% in 2019. In integrated Science, pass rate increased from 48% in 2016 to 63% in 2019. Proportion of students that score F9 in Integrated Science declined from 37% in 2015 to 10% in 2019.

For a long period, effective and meaningful learning in our schools was challenged with a curriculum which was fragmented, overloaded and did not meet international standards. Aside lacking in fundamentals of learning and learning progression, the objective-based curriculum and its associated assessment expectations at the pre-tertiary level do not align with the idea of making learning more relevant to the social and economic needs of the twenty-first century. Consequently, in 2017, we prioritized curriculum revision and pursued it aggressively. Within the period under review, KG – Primary 6 curriculum was completed, transitioning us from an objective-based curriculum to a 21st century standards-based curriculum. Almost all 153,000 KG and primary school teachers across the country received an initial training and continue to update their skills and competencies on the new curriculum.

Roll-out commenced in September 2019 at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year. With the revised curricular, emphasis has been placed on the acquisition of foundational reading, writing, arithmetic and creative skills and core competencies including Creativity and innovation, Critical thinking and Problem-solving, Communication and Collaboration, Cultural identity and Global citizenship, Personal development and Leadership, and Digital literacy.

Mr. Speaker, as a sequel to the KG-Primary curriculum, Cabinet has approved the Common Core Programme (CCP) Curriculum for Junior and Senior High School and we expect to roll it out at the beginning of the next academic year. The CCP is a carefully designed curriculum for learners in JHS 1 (Basic 7) to SHS 1 (Basic 10) as part of the learning experiences necessary to prepare them for higher education, the world of work or both.

With significant emphasis on a set of high internationally-benchmarked career and tertiary ready standards, the CCP is designed around building character and nurturing values, in addition to ensuring a seamless progression for all targeted learners from JHS to SHS. At the end of the CCP, learners have the options of branching into either the academic pathway or the career pathway for two years (SHS 2 to SHS 3), leading to either a high school or career-ready diploma. Our transformational efforts on the curriculum is focused on ensuring that we have the dream Ghanaian child who is competent and able to match up to any of their counterparts anywhere in the world. Mr. Speaker, with significant numbers of our children truncating their education at the Basic level in the previous years, the free SHS programme together with the comprehensive nature of the CCP curriculum, that holds both junior high and senior high together, will certainly increase opportunity for many to access improved quality secondary education. In the past, approximately 30% of all students placed in SHS failed to enroll. The proportion of students placed in SHS that failed to enroll declined to 11% in 2019. Transition rate from JHS 3 to SHS 1 has also increased from 63% in 2016 to 90% in 2019.

Mr. Speaker, in the Technical, Vocational, Education & Training (TVET) sub-sector, we were challenged with poor coordination, incoherent management structures and governance arrangement, all of which retarded the positive development of TVET and skills training sub-sector. Given the potential of TVET to our national development, we developed a big vision for the sub-sector. We have within the period put together a 5-year TVET Strategic Plan that is guiding the development on the TVET and skills training front.

At the tertiary level, we met a sector without a guiding policy direction. Consequently, tertiary education had developed without proper guidance as expansion was not properly coordinated. Within the period, we took on the challenge and developed a National Tertiary Education Policy with extensive stakeholder consultations. This subsequently fed the Public University Bill which is currently going through the legislative process.

Mr. Speaker, the education sector had outdated legal and institutional framework. This posed a challenge to effective management and governance of the sector for the delivery of quality service. To address this, we initiated a comprehensive legal and institutional reform agenda in 2017. To date, the Ministry has five bills laid before Parliament. We are strengthening the school inspection framework through the National Inspectorate Board. Our efforts have focused on ensuring that we have a school inspections regime that also supports school improvement. To this end, we are improving on management and accountability systems to ensure that our schools are led by leaders who see themselves as instructional leaders as well as school administrators. They must be empowered to deliver improved learning outcomes and take responsibility for those outcomes. We have supported the Ghana Education Service (GES) to refocus their supervision from policing to supporting schools to improve.

To this end, the GES is in the process of re-training their Circuit Supervisors to become School Improvement and Support Officers (SISO). We continue to invest in school infrastructure and teaching and learning materials.

Mr. Speaker, all these important reforms will come to nothing without engaging the teachers, for the simple reason that the teachers are at the centre of the education system as the front-liners and engineers of quality learning outcomes. The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration is motivated by “putting the teacher first” in the several reforms we have undertaken in the education space, focusing on positioning our teachers to acquire the right set of skills to deliver quality learning outcomes for our students. Indeed, one of the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that the significance of our gallant, hardworking teachers is better appreciated by parents who suddenly have to deal with their boisterous young children round the clock.

Mr. Speaker, our mantra has been and remains “Teacher First”. This is what guided our key promise to restore the teacher training allowance that was abolished by the then Mahama led NDC government. We have kept to that promise! Our record as a government on teacher reforms has revolved around the nine UNESCO-approved benchmarks as follows:

  1. Teacher recruitment and retention
  2. Teacher education
  3. Teacher deployment 4. Career pathways
  4. Teacher employment and working conditions
  5. Teacher reward and remuneration
  6. Teacher standards 8. Teacher accountability
  7. School governance

Teacher Education

Mr. Speaker, for years, our most treasured learners, particularly those in basic schools (KGs, Primary and JHS), were taught by teachers whose initial teacher training had consistently been a source of worry. The minimum teaching qualification for basic school teachers used to be Diploma in Basic Education from our Colleges of Education whiles their counterpart teachers in secondary schools was a Bachelors’ Degree from the Universities. Many previous research evidence and government policy documents had suggested that weakness in the quality of teachers produced through the DBE programme. For example, a report by a Department for International Development (DFID) funded project (Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL)) in 2015, observed that, the Diploma in Basic Education curriculum does not adequately prepare trainees to teach in Ghanaian schools. Mr. Speaker, we deeply appreciate the fact that the early years of a child’s education are extremely significant to their future achievement. Consequently, we have, in our focus on teacher reforms taken the necessary steps to upgrade all our Colleges of Education to university colleges to award a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degrees, following a review of the teacher education curriculum into standards-based curriculum. Implementation of the new teacher education curriculum began in October 2018, with each College of Education affiliated to one of five of our public universities.

In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to reiterate that the minimum qualification for teaching at any of our basic schools is now first degree, in addition to other regulatory requirements of the National Teaching Council. Working in close collaboration with, and the support of the T-TEL programme, our aim is to upgrade capacity and improve upon the quality of teacher education to position our teachers to be able to respond to our current and future challenges in education.

Licensure Programme

Mr. Speaker, the Education Act (Act 778) passed by this house in 2008 led to the setup of the National Teaching Council (NTC) with responsibility for setting professional standards, registering and licensing teachers. Since 2018, government have supported the National Teaching Council to successfully put in place the mechanisms to conducting of a rigorous and credible teacher licensure examination, as provided by law under the Education Act 2008 (Act 778). The aim of the teacher licensure regime is primarily to enable qualified teachers to acquire a professional license and prepare them to meet the demands of the National Teaching Standards as well as Global Standards of minimum knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to deliver effectively in schools. Government believes this will help to improve the image to teaching to be at par with other professions. Mr. Speaker, to further deepen our commitment to teachers and their professional growth, the NPP government is introducing a Professional Teacher Allowance of GHS 1,200 per year for professional teachers, and GHS600 per year for non-professional teachers. This will enable teachers to invest in improving and upgrading their skills and keeping abreast with modern trends to assist in improving learning outcomes.

Research Fund and Book & Research Allowance

Mr. Speaker, the Book & Research Allowance which was abolished by the NDC government, has been restored by this government. We have not only restored it but we have approved a 200% increase in the allowance, from the GHS500 to GHS 1,500. Let’s not forget that this was introduced under His Excellency President John Agyekum Kufuor. Further to this, Mr. Speaker, this government has laid before Parliament, the Ghana National Research Fund Bill, the purpose of which is to provide for funds and to support national research in tertiary and research institutions.

Support for University Teachers Seeking to Upgrade their Qualifications Mr. Speaker, through the GETFund, government is providing support for university teachers who want to upgrade their qualifications. Indeed, a staff audit of technical universities and Colleges of Education revealed several qualification gaps, and staff who fall short of the minimum qualifications required to teach in those institutions have up to two years to update their qualifications and are able to draw on these resources.

Post-Retirement Contracts

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to announce to the house that Cabinet has approved proposals for the management of post-retirement contracts in public universities. This approval provides grounds for streamlining and regularizing the need to retain highly skilled and experienced academic staff to support the core business of the universities. Post-retirement contracts in all public universities shall be guided by the following rules;

  1. Mandatory retirement for academic staff of public universities shall continue to be 60 years, in line with constitutional provisions. 2. Professorial grade staff (Associate Professors and Professors) shall be eligible for post-retirement contracts until the age of 70. The initial contract shall be for 5 years up to the age of 65, and then afterwards, contracts shall be offered on a 2+2+1 basis, subject to need and good health.
  2. Senior Lecturers shall be eligible for post-retirement contract on a 2+2+1 basis only up to the age of 65, again subject to need and good health.

Mr. Speaker, this approval has become particularly necessary as part of measures to bolster and maintain a critical mass of key academic staff to support the anticipated significant increase in tertiary enrolment as a consequence of the Free Senior High School Programme. The retention of highly skilled and experienced staff is further aimed at boosting graduate enrolment and research, overall faculty research output and the training of young faculty staff, among others.

Teacher Pathways Mr. Speaker, as part of school management reforms, government is introducing management pathways for teachers who show an early interest in school management. We will then support them with the necessary management training processes to enable them access school leadership roles early on in their careers. We believe it is important to identify and groom inspirational teachers to assume management roles and drive academic excellence.

Teacher Selection, Retention and Incentives Mr. Speaker, since this government took office in January 2017, we have so far employed a total of 66,357 teaching and non-teaching staff in the pre-tertiary sector as of the end of 2019. Further, financial clearance has been obtained to recruit an additional 27,367 teaching and non-staff, comprising 16,500 newly qualified teachers, 6,500 graduate teachers, 3,232 replacement staff and 1,135 non-teaching staff. This brings the total to a staggering 93, 724 employed by the end of this year for pre-tertiary. At the tertiary level, we have since 2017 we have recruited a total of 6,176 staff.

Mr. Speaker, there was a time in this country when under the three-month pay policy, our hard-working teachers were paid only three months’ salary, no matter how long they had worked since being engaged. This barefaced injustice formed part of what became known as the legacy arrears that this government inherited. Today, all newly-engaged teachers have had all their arrears paid a few months after commencing employment. Again, so far, this government has cleared over 91% of the legacy arrears we inherited. That is competence!

Mr. Speaker, hitherto, the teacher promotion was a laborious, lengthy and expensive face-to-face interview process riddled with perceptions of corruption and victimisation that was stuck in 20th century practices and procedures. We engaged the teacher unions and other stakeholders and eventually settled on an aptitude test for particular ranks of applicants. I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, to report to this house that the maiden aptitude test for promotion has been a resounding success and teachers appreciate the relatively simple process now in place. That, Mr. Speaker, is competence! Again, Mr. Speaker, contrary to the previous situation where it took months for promoted teachers to have their salary adjustments reflected, I am pleased to inform the house that teachers who received their promotion letters in April 2020 saw the reflection of the adjustments in their May 2020 salaries. That, Mr. Speaker, is competence!

Mr. Speaker, issues regarding teachers’ conditions of service are being worked on in conjunction with the National Teaching Council and Fair Wages Commission and government will soon be able to resolve any outstanding challenges. Mr. Speaker, government’s reforms in teacher education form part of a wider scope of reforms at all levels to ensure that our education delivery system meets the needs of a modern, 21st century economy that produces skilled, confident, competitive citizens to power its industrialisation.

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to engage with the teacher unions, student unions and other stakeholders on how to improve the image of the teaching profession, improve teacher education and training as well as improving learning outcomes. Our vision of a 21st century teacher is a competent, skilled and professionally trained person equipped with the right set of skills and competencies to play a key role in delivering improved learning outcomes for learners to meet our development needs.

TVET and Skills Development Mr. Speaker, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has extensively grown in status across the world. The growth is largely owed to the general acceptance that TVET is a driving force for socio-economic development. Irrefutably, TVET provides desirable talents, skills and the needed manpower that is required to propel development. This Government, acknowledging the potential TVET presents strategically, set the following priorities:

  1. Provide the youth with skills that will make them employable, enhance their livelihoods and create wealth.
  2. Provide the youth with the skills required by industries as government pursues the One District, One Factory (1D1F) and other development strategies.
  3. Make Skills and TVET the driver of development in the country. 4. Enhance the Ghanaian workforce to make them globally competitive and attractive.
  4. Provide the youth the opportunity to fully explore their capabilities with state-of-the-art training, learning facilities and equipment as we industrialize Ghana.

To this end, Government through the Ministry of Education developed a five year “Strategic Plan for TVET Transformation” to ensure a well-organized, coordinated and effective national TVET system. It is hoped that such a system will effectively support the economic development agenda, which the government has embarked upon, by promoting skills development and improving the productivity and competitiveness of the skilled workforce of this country.

Mr. Speaker, the implementation of this Strategic Plan has resulted in enhancing the Governance arrangement in the sector to the extent that all public TVET institutions are being realigned to be under the Ministry of Education. The Education Regulatory Bodies Bill that was recently passed and the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill currently before the house provides the legal bases for the realignment. This will resolve the fragmentation in the TVET landscape where the public TVET Institutions were scattered under nineteen different Ministries. Mr. Speaker, this will lead to effective coordination, regulation, harmonisation, standardisation and quality of instruction delivery in TVET. Mr. Speaker, TVET Infrastructural deficit that has been a major drag on quality delivery in the TVET Sector is being addressed. This is manifested in the upgrading and modernisation of all National Vocational training Institutes (NVTIs), Opportunity Industrialisation Centers (OIC), Construction of two Foundries and Machining centers; Upgrading of 17 Technical and Vocational Institutes, building of office to support the unit responsible for TVET Examination and the first phase for the establishment of the 32 State-of-the-Art TVET Centres which is about to be commence and preparatory activities are underway to seek approval for the second phase. There are additional infrastructural and equipment provision at all Technical Universities to achieve quality delivery in the TVET at the Tertiary Level.

Mr. Speaker, the situation where our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters complete their schooling and are unable find employment has largely been attributed to the mismatches in demand and supply of industry skills needs. To resolve this situation a skills gap analysis and audit of seven key sectors was conducted and the areas that need urgent attention is currently being addressed through the development of the relevant Competency Based Programmes and the establishment of Sector Skills Bodies. The sectors that the Skills Gap Analysis and Audit covered were:

• Agriculture,

• Manufacturing, • Construction,

• Information Communications Technology (ICT),

• Tourism and Hospitality,

• Energy, (Renewable Energy and Oil and Gas) • Electricals and electronics.

Mr. Speaker, the Ghana TVET Voucher Project (GTVP), a project under the Ghanaian-German Financial Development Cooperation, financed through KfW Development Bank and the Government of Ghana provides demand-driven training vouchers to Council for TVET (COTVET) registered master craft persons, their apprentices and workers. The vouchers are used to fund competency-based training (CBT) in the following areas;

● Beauty / Cosmetics (Cosmetology)

● Consumer Electronics ● Automotive repair

● Building Construction (Welding)

● Garment / tailoring/ dressmaking

● Plumbing Furniture making

● Electrical installation

● Block laying and tiling

● Catering and hospitality

Mr. Speaker, 13,326 individuals have so far benefitted from this project and many more are going to benefit with additional trades. Mr. Speaker, Government has also submitted to this house the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project, which will lead to the upgrading of skills among the country’s population, create more and better-quality jobs and improve on job outcomes for the youth. It connects success in these areas to social cohesion and economic inclusion. This is reflected in the government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017–2024): An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All (Government of Ghana 2017).

Mr. Speaker, the Development Objective of the project is to support skills development and job creation in Ghana. It supports the government’s prioritized skills development and job creation agenda, through four major components and these are:

(a) Component 1: Provision of apprenticeship training for jobs

(b) Component 2: Provision of entrepreneurship and micro and small enterprise support for jobs (c) Component 3: Operationalization of the Ghana Labor Market Information System, upgrading of district Public Employment Centers and services, and independent performance reviews of select government youth employment and skills development programs

(d) Component 4: Capacity development, technical assistance, and project management support to coordinating, implementing, and partnering agencies for enhanced skills and jobs impact.

Mr. Speaker, the project will ensure the development of Competency-Based Training packages in at least One hundred (100) additional priority trades, accredit at least Two Hundred and Fifty (250) additional Training Providers for the Provision of Competency-Based Training and provide a minimum Twenty-Five Thousand (25,000) individuals with Apprenticeship Training, under a formalized, standardized, and quality-assured system.

Mr. Speaker, improving quality TVET delivery is very critical to government and so it has been working smart and this has led to the accreditation of 115 training providers out which 33 are public and 82 private TVET institutions to implement competency-based training, built capacity of 165 external verifiers for implementation of competency-based training in TVET institutions. Mr. Speaker, let me state that until this government assumed office, the National Technical and Vocational Education and Training Qualification Framework (NTVETQF) was on the shelves gathering dust. I am glad to report that 6817 learners have been certified of the qualification framework

Mr. Speaker, forty-two (42) Competency Based Training (CBT) packages have been developed for various skilled trades; whilst Twenty (20) CBT packages for generics at levels 1-4 on the NTVETQF are have been developed.

Mr. Speaker, the MyTVET campaign has been launched and being implemented. The campaign is to help change the negative perceptions about TVET in Ghana using tools such as:

i. Career guidance and counselling. (Manuals has been provided for 100 JHS and training provided for the G & C Coordinators. ii. TVET Clubs in Junior High Schools.

iii. Skills Competitions Skills International.

iv. TVET ambassadors and role models.

v. Interactive MyTVET web portal. vi. TVET roadshows.

vii. Radio, Newspaper and TV advertisements.

viii. Outdoor Advertising (MyTVET Billboards, brochures, flyers and posters).

Mr. Speaker, Ghana has registered as the 81st member of WorldSkills International (WSI) and Ghana will be part of a global movement dedicated to promoting the benefits of skills training, have access to resources, activities, and events across WSI’s six focus areas (i.e. promoting skills, education and training, Skills Competition, International Development, Career Building and Research). Mr. Speaker, WorldSkills Ghana’s (WSGh’s) aims at inspiring world-class excellence in skills development and introducing the youth to a variety of skilled careers and thus, generate greater awareness on the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the development of skills for national and global economies. WorldSkills International is a movement that is changing the lives of young people through skills. It is made up of 83 Member organizations reaching two-thirds of the world’s population and creates measurable impact at every level. Our membership will build the confidence of young people, empower communities, and fuel our economy through youth employability, creativity and innovation. This is to ensure that as a country, we grow the right set of skills required for industrialisation and economic growth. In the end, Mr. Speaker, ours is to make Ghana a learning nation through education and I am confident that under our visionary President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, we will get there.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this statement of government in line with Order 70(2) in this august house.

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