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Withdraw Pre-Tertiary Education Bill from parliament – Minority Leader

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has called on President Akufo-Addo to withdraw the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill from parliament to allow for a more thorough and broader national consultation on it.

He said there were legitimate and major concerns raised by stakeholders concerning the bill, hence, the need to withdraw it from Parliament and subject it to consultations and discussions by educationists, chiefs, opinion leaders, amongst other interest groups to address the concerns.

Mr Iddrisu, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tamale South Constituency in the Northern Region, made the call in Tamale on Tuesday when he presented 1,000 dual desks to five basic schools in the Tamale Metropolis.

The desks, valued at ₵300,000 which forms part of the MP’s portion of the Social Investment Fund, would go to support the delivery of quality basic education in the area towards improved literacy and numeracy skills.

The beneficiary schools included Badariya E/A Primary at Nyohini, Nuriya Central Islamic Primary at Bulpela, Lahagu Islamic Primary, Dohini Islamic Primary, and Tugu Yapala Islamic Primary.

Parliament is currently considering three Bills on Pre-Tertiary Education (2019).

Under section 32(3) of the Bill, the Head of the Local Government Service will be appointing heads and staff of the District Education Unit as well as be responsible for promotion, transfer, discipline, and dismissal of the staff of the District Education Unit.

Under section 32(4) of the Bill, inter-district transfer of a headteacher or staff of a basic school can only be undertaken by the Head of the Local Government Service whilst section 25(2) and 26(2) of the Bill stipulated that the President of the Republic shall be appointing Regional Directors and their Deputies and determining their terms and conditions of service.

Also, according to section 30(1c) of the Bill, the preparation, administration, and control of budgetary allocations of the basic schools shall be determined by the District Assembly.

However, teacher unions in the country have kicked against some of the provisions in the Bill and have demanded further discussions on it.

Mr Iddrisu said “I am not primarily against decentralisation or decentralised roles in basic education, but there are legitimate and major concerns raised by the stakeholders” adding “Are our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies ready to do the responsibilities and obligations we are creating for them?

Mr Iddrisu spoke about the Pre-Tertiary Bill saying, one of the Bills sought to make secondary education a part of basic education, which was unconstitutional.

He reminded the “President that he swore an oath and he swore to uphold the Constitution of Ghana. One of the Pre-Tertiary Education Bills seeks to make secondary education a part of basic education. That is unconstitutional because the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education is a constitutional provision and in that provision, it did not anticipate the addition of secondary education to basic education.”

He emphasised that “The President can go forward with his free secondary education but to make secondary education a necessary part of basic education is wrong in theory, practice and constitutionally.”

He cited Articles 25 through to 38 of the Constitution, saying “The President is doing a constitutional wrong to say that secondary education should be part of basic education. He should also not forget that Ghana is part of the West African sub-region. Has he asked our neighbours whether they are doing the same?

He said because there must be congruity, what the President is doing is incongruous with acceptable practice and norms in West Africa as far as basic education is concerned. Even by UNESCO definition, basic education is normally from Creche up to JHS.”

Mr Tug-uu Ametus, Tamale Metropolitan Director of Education, who received the desks and handed them over to the headteachers of the beneficiary schools, said the education sector required the support of all, and lauded the MP’s intervention.

Mr Ametus said there were inadequate furniture at the schools in the area and commended the MP for the gesture, which he said would help to ameliorate the situation and ensure enabling environment for quality teaching and learning at the schools.

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