The 2019 Pre-Tertiary Bill has come to stay as one of the most controversial Education Policies under the auspices of the Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh.
The controversies surrounding the bill range from the inability of the Minister of Education to release a copy of the Bill to teacher Unions since November 2017.
Teachers Unions further argued that the Bill was meant to devalue their existence and also dissolve the Ghana Education Council, a situation that led to a proper scrutinising of the Bill, leading to a recommendation on some 77 issues in the bill by Teacher Unions.
Minority in Parliament was no exception as they threatened to go to the Supreme Court should the bill go through successfully, after raising several challenges facing the bill.
Summary of the Bil
The pre-tertiary education shall be known as Basic Education starting from Kindergarten to Senior High School.
The Minister of Education shall take measures to cede effective responsibility for the provision and management of basic schools to the District Assemblies and the Ministry responsible for Education and Education Service provide effective oversight for secondary schools.
Memorandum of Understanding will be entered into with the faith-based organisations for the management of faith-based schools.
The Director-General, Deputy Director-General, Officers of Education Service at the National level shall be appointed by the President in accordance with article 195 of the Constitution.
The President shall appoint the Regional Directors, Deputy Regional Directors and other staff of the Regional Directorate in all the regions in accordance with article 195 of the Constitution.
The Education Service shall establish a Board of Governors for the management of each secondary school.
The District Assemblies shall be responsible for the management of Basic Schools. Each District Assembly shall establish an Education Section.
The Head of Local Government Service in consultation with the Ministry of Education and Education Service shall appoint the Head and staff of the District Education Section.
The District Officer in charge of Education on behalf of the Head of Local Government Service and acting on the recommendation of the Head of the District Education Section, is responsible for the appointment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of the head and staff of basic schools in the Districts.
The District Officer in charge of Education may only transfer ahead or staff of a basic school to another school within the same district.
Inter-District transfer of ahead of staff of a basic school may only be undertaken by the Head of the Local Government Service in Accra.
A District Assembly shall establish a District Education Oversight Team to advice the District Chief Executive on the management of basic schools.
Each District Assembly shall establish a School Management Committee for each basic school in the District for effective management, monitoring and supervision of basic schools in the District.
Teachers in the basic schools will be members of the Education Service employed by the Local Government Service to work for the Ministry responsible for Education, the Education Service and a Regional Coordinating Council or a District Assembly.
The Bill has outlined some positives to its advantage, making it one of the most successful Bills should it come to pass in the Country’s History.
Notable among such advantages include;There shall be a complete decentralisation of basic schools, which could help in the implementation of target policy initiatives.
Basic Schools shall be effectively and efficiently managed, this will include proper monitoring and supervision of basic schools.
The Pre-Tertiary Education Bill 2019 shall help to improve the quality of teaching and learning in basic schools.
Even though the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill 2019 has been seen as one of the best policy documents to be implemented, it also has some disadvantages which far outweighs its advantages.
Notable among them include the following;
There shall be an over politicisation of the management of basic schools.
There shall be a worsening situation of victimisation and the abuse by political actors as enshrined in the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill 2019.
The New Education Bill can lead to the possibility of putting square pecks in round holes.
Reasons for dismissing teachers could be questionable as a teacher may be dismissed with flimsy reasons, with even political reasons.
Negotiation for Conditions of Service for all Teachers will be difficult since the teachers shall fall under different assemblies with different formalities and possibly different conditions of service.
One major adverse effect of the New Pre-Tertiary Education Bill is that it shall make it impossible for teachers to go for inter-district and regional transfers.
The Way Forward
The New Education Bill, though with its pros and cons, could be given a better recognition if the following points are given the possible attention as they deserve.
Firstly, the President should appoint only the Director-General and the Deputy Director-General of the Education Service and not other officers, Regional Directors and their Deputies and other staff of the Regional Directorate and District Education Officer.
Proper laid down procedure should be followed in appointing individuals into such positions.
Secondly, the District Assemblies should be responsible for the provision of infrastructure and teaching and learning materials for effective teaching and learning.
Thirdly, the management of the basic schools should be done by Education Service without political interference.
In addition, Inter-District transfer should be done by the Regional Director and not the Head of Local Government Service who is also a politician.
Finally, Steps should be taken to make the Education Service non-partisan.
It is now clear the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill has its ups and downs , a reason one must-read top understand the principles before making possible interpretations.
Meanwhile, should the Bill be passed or not is in the hands of the Politicians and their conscience!