Dr Steve Manteaw, the Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, has asked the government not to overly depend on natural resource revenue as a source of funding education.
He said the government needed to redirect its attention to other sectors for funds to sustain the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
He said over-reliance on natural resource revenues, especially petroleum funds, could be risky on account of the volatile nature of commodity prices.
The mining sector, he explained, had some potentials to contribute to secondary education financing and advised that corporate social responsibility spending be re-directed to education.
Dr Manteaw said sustainable financing of pre-tertiary education would also entail the prudent management of assigned resources and called for a collective approach to harmonize the management of the pool of resources accruing to the GetFund with other revenue streams intended to fund the free SHS policy.
He gave the advice on Monday at the launch of the 2021 Global Action Week Celebration on Education in Accra by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) on the theme: “Sustaining Financing for Inclusive Pre-tertiary Education”.
Dr Manteaw, who is also a former Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), said available data indicated that sustainable financing of Free SHS was feasible and that it only required political will, collaborative efforts, and diversification of funding sources.
Cocoa Board ought to be engaged to restore its educational support programme for farmer’s children and to direct the resources for the programme to support Free SHS implementation, he said.
To ensure that quality pre-tertiary education was provided in Ghana, Mr Palhim Oyiye, a Programme Officer, Ghana National Association of Teachers, entreated duty bearers to be good observers and key participants in Ghana’s educational system.
He called on the government to consider an inclusive policy in education to bring hope and life to persons with disability and address the revenue leakages in the educational system to generate enough funds for the state.
Mr Richard Kwashie Kovey, Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, Ga West Municipal, said the theme on financing education was apt as the non-availability of funds for a school became a burden on the teacher.
“Sometimes the teachers use personal earnings to support the school because they don’t want the school to be regarded as a non-performing one,” he said.
He appealed to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to consider challenges special children went through in education and facilitate the provision of a friendly and inclusive learning environment for them.
Mr Vitus Adaboo Azeem, the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, said the country ought to pay more attention to financing education and give special focus to pre-tertiary education, which he explained was the basis and foundation of Ghana’s educational system.
“We must also intensify revenue mobilisation efforts. Sometimes those who talk about expanding the tax base do not pay taxes. Businesses don’t see the need to pay taxes and people exploit tax laws,” he said.
He said corruption had also taken root among tax collectors themselves, adding: “It is ridiculous that GRA borrows money to show that it has achieved its targets.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, in a speech read on his behalf, said the government was working towards procuring textbooks for SHSs.
He said they would put in place mechanisms to invest in teachers with more virtual skills training programmes.
He appealed to well-meaning civil society organisations and individuals to suggest new avenues through which government could source funds to enhance its free SHS policy and entire educational sector.
Mr Joseph Atsu, National Chairman, GNECC, reiterated the need for government to invest in technical and vocational education and training to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.