July 22, 2013

A three day workshop on the implementation of key school enrollment interventions for members of the Parliamentary select committee on education has opened in Accra.

The review workshop, funded by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), is to educate the Committee on challenges confronting the implementation of the school enrollment interventions to help them make informed contributions on the floor of Parliament.

It is also aimed at soliciting expert advice on alternative strategies to improving the policy outcomes and to learn the success stories of the performing districts and explore possibilities of replicating in areas where progress has been slow as well as to brainstorm on practical measures of ensuring that children enter school at the right time.

It is a follow up workshop to an earlier one held in October 2011 with the objective of reviewing the status of implementation of the EFA goals by Ghana in terms of challenges, achievement and the way forward.

Mrs Charity Amamoo, Head of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO said reports show that there are still over 700,000 out of school children in Ghana, whilst the MDGs was just two years to the deadline.

She said this had created fears that Ghana might not be able to achieve the MDG-2 and 3 if efforts are not made, adding that, measures such as educating members of Parliament, the media, and all others who are in the forefront with the ability to spread the message to get all children to enroll in school would help.

She said Ghana was however doing well in the area of closing the gender gap but there are still certain issues that needed to be looked at in order to fully achieve the goals, adding that, though UNESCO had earmarked the year 2015 as the year of completion, UNESCO had plans to continue with the programme and Ghana should not be left out in these plans for the future.

Mrs Amamoo noted that though UNESCO has been sponsoring many programmes in areas of culture, education and science, donor funding has however gone down.

She was optimistic that the workshop would lead to enhanced coordinated efforts towards achieving the EFA goals.

Mrs Professor Nana Jane Opoku- Agyeman, Minister for Education said the workshop would consolidate the various enrolment boosting policies being pursued by the Ministry.

She appealed to members of the Committee to help reduce the challenges especially the use of resources in the education sector.

Prof Opoku-Agyeman urged the select committee to sponsor some of the members to participate this year’s forth coming conference scheduled to take place in Paris in October-November, as has been done in the past, to enable them to share their experiences with their counterparts from other countries during the Civil Society and Parliamentary forum.

Mr Mathias Puozaa, Chairman of the Committee said Ghana appears to have made some progress since joining the UN millennium declaration in 2000 but progress has been slow on some indicators and uneven among geographical areas and sexes, thus heightening anxiety that the country may miss out on some important goals by 2015.

He said it therefore calls for concerted actions on the part of government to initiate appropriate and responsive policies and stakeholders to live up to the challenge of ensuring transparency, accountable and responsive governance to accelerate the pace of achievement.