The Ministry of Education took a startling and drastic nosedive between January 2013 and January 2017 under the rein of former President John Dramani Mahama. The Minister of Education within the named period was Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang. The Ministry under Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang in fact experienced and suffered its worst form of mismanagement under the history of the fourth (4th) Republic of Ghana.
Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was the Minister of Education between February, 2013 and January, 2017. She was appointed by the previous (January, 2013 – January, 2017) President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama. On 6th July, 2020, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was again named by former President John Dramani Mahama as his Running Mate for the December, 2020 general elections after the approval of her by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). She was officially outdoored on 27th July, 2020.
The Ministry of Education bequeathed to the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led Government in January, 2017 was so desolate and in complete ruins that there existed no hope of a rejuvenation of the Ministry.
The University of Cape Coast (UCC) also suffered a worse fate with Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang being the Institution’s Vice Chancellor (V.C) from 2008 to 2012. Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang is the first female Vice Chancellor of a Public University in Ghana. Note, under Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as the Institution’s Vice Chancellor, the Institution realised no form of development, she just superintended over the Institution like a ceremonial head with no clear cut vision and authority over the institution’s developmental plan and implementation. In fact, there is not a single achievement at UCC that can be alluded to her, she was just a complete failure.
The management of the Ministry of Education under Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was so dreadful that every institution and individual found along the Ministry’s value chain from the teaching staff to students to administrative staff to others were all hugely negatively affected, and below are some of the ordeals the Ministry underwent;
The teaching and non-teaching staff of the various Educational Institutions were hugely understaffed; the schools lacked teaching and learning materials (TLMs) like chalks, boards, furniture and other basic learning equipments; vehicles and infrastructure for schools were hugely inadequate; teachers were demoralized and least motivated with the cancellation of the incremental jump, vehicle maintenance allowance and others; teachers who have worked for many years were painfully paid only three (3) months of their deserved arrears; cancellation of Training Colleges Students’ and Lecturers’ Book and Research allowances; the failed Progressively Free Senior High School (PFSHS) policy, School Feeding programme, Capitation grant, packages (finances) for students on both local and foreign scholarships were all in huge arrears; only twenty nine (29) out of the two hundred (200) promised E-Blocks situated at very disadvantageous locations across the country were completed; and others.
Fast forward, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won the 7th December, 2016 general elections and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh was appointed the Minister of Education and also served as the immediate successor to Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, and therefore became the direct inheritor of the Educational Ministry’s mess. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh notably known as NAPO, Member of Parliament (MP) of Manhyia South was appointed the Education Minister in January, 2017.
But shockingly, the terribly devastated Ministry bequeathed to Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh which had no hope of any possibility of a resuscitation is currently functioning at full flight with consistent churn out of extraordinary accomplishments and successes. Note, in just four years with Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh as the Educational Minister, he has successfully transformed the failed ministry into the most efficient and effective under the history of the fourth (4th) Republic.
Note, under just four (4) years of the Education Ministry headed by Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, some of the remarkable achievements realised are;
Recruitment of ninety three thousand seven hundred and twenty four (93,724) teaching and non-teaching staff, of which about sixty thousand one hundred and eighty two (60,182) constitute the teaching staff; distribution of three hundred and sixty five (365) pickups and four hundred and ninety three (493) motorbikes to the various districts, municipals and metropolitan Ghana Education Service (GES) offices and other agencies under the Ministry of Education; full implementation of Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy; presentation of Presidential Charters to two private university colleges on a same day; completion of twenty seven (27) of the E-Block projects started by former President John Dramani Mahama and a further full payment of all contractors/construction companies in charge of the construction of the 200 E-Blocks and other government projects being executed in all secondary schools; restoration of Training Colleges Students’ and Lecturers’ Book and Research allowances; reinstitution of payment of newly recruited teachers’ full salary arrears instead of the previous three (3) months arrears of entire work done, and also the restoration of teacher’s vehicle allowance; widening of the scholarship net and also an increase in the number of students on both local and foreign scholarships; upgrade of Colleges of Education into University Colleges status; settlement of all arrears of the failed Progressively Free Senior High School (PFSHS) policy, School Feeding programme, Capitation grant, packages (finances) for students on both local and foreign scholarships, and the prompt and timely settlement of their further arrears; enhancement of the professional image of teachers through the introduction of Licensure Examination; automation of procedures at the Ministry of Education and most of the institutions under the Ministry; absorption of Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) registration fees for both final year Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) students; introduction of academic intervention and teacher motivation for the enhancement of efforts of teachers toward academic work; an increase in Senior High School students from about nine hundred thousand (900,000) in 2016 to about one million two hundred thousand (1,200,000) in 2020, representing an increase in growth of about 33.33%; adequate supply of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) to schools; an improvement in gender parity in students’ enrollment through an increase in the number of females entering Senior High Schools (SHS); an institution of an annual one thousand two hundred Ghana cedis (1,200 GH cedis) and six hundred Ghana cedis (600 GH cedis) incentive allowances for teaching and non-teaching staff respectively dubbed “Teachers Professional Allowance”; and others.
From the foregoing, with a juxtaposition of the records of the Ministry of Education with regards to Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, it can easily be established that Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was a complete failure and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has been highly successful, moreover, it can easily be determined that Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has been more competent with the management of the Ministry of Education than the Ministry did under Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang.
In fact, incompetence is truly when a medical doctor is able to manage an education ministry better than an educationist who was also a former Vice Chancellor (V.C) of a renowned university, therefore, it would be highly erroneous on the part of Ghanaians to allow Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, an individual who could not manage an education ministry to be allowed to manage a nation as the country’s Vice President.
Hhhmm, May God be praised always
Nana Kwadwo Akwaa
Member, Critical Thinkers International (CTI)