Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this House approves the sum of ¢8,278,571,000,000 for the services of the Ministry of Education and Sports for the 2006 fiscal year.
Mr. Speaker, the request is made up
of the Government of Ghana (GOG) component of ¢5,360,469,000 and ¢408,601,000 from donors. It also used ¢1,386,300,000 from the GETFund and ¢300,000,000 from HIPC Relief Fund and ¢813,201,000 from internally generated fund. We therefore sought to put all together with the amount given.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education
and Sports has three implementing agencies under the sector and these are, the Ghana Education Service responsible for pre-tertiary educational programmes, the National Council for Tertiary Education in charge of tertiary education programmes and the National Sports Council responsible for the formulation and promotion of sporting policies and programme in this country.
The three agencies have been allocated
approximately 93.1 per cent of the GOG and donor budget of the Ministry. There are other relatively small and implementing agencies namely, the Non- formal Education Division, the National Service Secretariat, Ghana Library Board, Ghana Book Development Council, the West African Examination Council, Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, National Co-ordinating Committee for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this Ministry
is big. The Ministry therefore has one Minister of State and three Deputies who have been assigned specific roles. These seven agencies together with four Directorates of the main Ministry have been allocated 6.4 per cent of the Ministry's budget for 2006. The main Ministry is responsible for the formulation, co- ordination and monitoring and supervision of the efficient management of projects in the education sector.
Mr. Speaker, development of our human
resource continues to be at the centre of this Government's developmental agenda and it was very clear from the State of the Nation Address that, that is the number one priority of the Government.
Mr. Speaker, if education goes well it
even reduces the health budget; if hygiene is taken up very seriously at very basic levels, its consequences are enormous. Mr. Speaker, education is the measure of our own development and therefore this Government has decided to go through an educational reform that will commence the year 2007. Therefore, certain measures have to be taken to get ourselves prepared for that occasion. And a number of steps are being taken to do exactly that.
Mr. Speaker, in the course of last
year 53 districts were put together and they were provided with what we call the capitation grant; and the results were
very positive. The enrolment at the primary level in these deprived districts increased from 76 per cent to 80.12 per cent. And between 2002 - 2005, this experiment enabled the Government to roll out capitation grants throughout the whole country. And therefore, from the beginning of this year, 13th September -- At the beginning of this year capitation grant was introduced nationwide.
Mr. Speaker, we are very happy with
the results because the idea was to indeed improve on access to education. Therefore, we are expecting improvement in enrolment and we had projected an increase of about 30 per cent countrywide. We are still gathering data but data reaching us so far indicates that in many villages in the deprived areas, enrolment in Primary One (P1) has doubled. And I noted that just around Amasaman, as many as about 26 per cent of those who enrolled in class one were above the age of eleven, which is a clear indication that people were not going to school because they could not afford it; and we are very happy with this result.
We hope that when we gather all the data, which will be by the end of December, we would be able to say that the capitation grant has indeed improved access to education. This of course is not without cost. Because these number have increased, Mr. Speaker, we may have to run shift in some primary one classes within this country and therefore also increase the number of teachers; and this will finally also affect infrastructural additions to the school.
Mr. Speaker, this year the computerized
school selection and placement system was also put into operation. There have been a number of criticisms and we have taken all of them on board and I can assure my hon. Colleagues that we will certainly
refine the system and improve upon it. We must look ahead and we must improve upon the whole system of placement; the computerized school selection and placement system has come to stay and I would want to emphasize that.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, the year before
when we used the manual system, a total number of 130,000 pupils were placed in the second cycle schools. This year we placed a total of 158,600 and in some very good schools like Presec, Prempeh College, Mfantsipim and Achimota, parents danced around when the schools reopened. They never hoped that they would find their wards there but the computer has placed them there because of performance.
And I think this way of doing things provides better access for all of us and it should be encouraged. We are aware of the role old boys and girls play in these schools and we are aware of the role of churches, the chiefs et cetera. Next year we would take all these into consideration to give it a better human face.
Mr. Speaker, as we embark on the
educational reform, training colleges become our number one priority and therefore we sought this year to concentrate on improving the training colleges to prepare teachers coming out to be such that they themselves can implement the reform. We have 38 training colleges in Ghana, 15 of them have been selected to specialize in addition to their regular courses on mathematics, and science and technology and therefore we are providing these 15 training colleges with additional science laboratories and equipment.
We are providing to each training college in Ghana a library, which is important for our faculty development. And because of the problem associated with teaching practice and transportation, we are providing for each training college
in Ghana a bus.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that
almost all the buses for the training colleges have arrived in the country and at least 30 of them would be given out next week.
We have been faced with a very serious
problem of study leave with pay. We have a situation where those applying for study leave with pay are far more than those coming in and this poses a problem.
Last year, whereas 15,750 people had applied for study leave with pay, all the thirty eight training colleges in this country were having a total output of 8,200. And therefore, if you allowed the study leave with pay to go un-monitored, we are going to have a minimum of 7,500 empty classrooms. That is not the way out and, therefore, we introduced the quota system a couple of years ago; we are refining the quota system.
And I am happy to note that when the quota system was decentralized for this year's admissions there were no complaints. And therefore, we have decided, based on Alhaji Gbadomoshi's recommendations -- it was a committee of enquiry to decentralize this quota system so that the decisions are made at the districts; we experimented it and it worked.
But to make teachers also have access to training - teachers need continuous education -- we have to now support distance education. The Government has decided that in the next academic year, it will pay the total tuition fee involved in distance education for teachers, as long as they go through some guidelines. We have selected subjects which will attract
this full scholarship. Certainly, if one is going to do a subject
that cannot be taught in the classroom, one cannot enjoy that kind of scholarship. And therefore, we have the guidelines for it and as long as one is within those guidelines, tuition would be made free for one to take his or her study leave.
Mr. Speaker, I think that everybody
is very much concerned about tertiary education in this country and the Government has allocated nine hundred and forty-nine billion and forty one million cedis for tertiary education in this country. This is about 16.4 per cent of the total budget and as expected, about eighty four per cent of this budget is for personal emoluments. In the overall educational budget, eighty nine per cent is for personal emoluments and as had been expressed because education and health basically provide service, we expect that ratio. But we need of course to catch up with infrastructure.
Mr. Speaker, the main problem facing
our tertiary education in this country is that enrolment has not caught up with infrastructural development and this is creating a lot of problems for all the universities. And therefore, we have voted a lot of money, for the next five years, to improve on infrastructure on our university campuses and technical schools. It is a necessity.
We know that some of our development partners are not happy with the level of investments we are making in tertiary education, but it is necessary because enrolment had gone up to a level which had not been caught up by infrastructural development and we think that we need to do this.
We note a major problem faced
by students in the universities is that of movement within the campuses. If you take some of the universities, their
laboratories, lecture halls, residential halls, et cetera, are distances apart and sometimes they have very little time to move in-between. And therefore, we are experimenting within three campuses at the moment -- campuses of the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Development Studies, University of Education, Winneba and the University of Cape Coast -- intra-university buses to provide service to students to move very easily within the campuses. This we believe will remove some of the problems facing our students.
On the sporting side, Mr. Speaker,
the Government will continue to provide support for the sports side and in this year's budget, forty seven billion two hundred and sixty-six thousand cedis has been set aside for promoting sporting activities in this country. We would, in the case of the sporting side also, depend on corporate bodies for support, because sporting activities all over the world, especially football, are funded partially from the corporate world. And we are going to promote a lot of that kind of interest to get money from the corporate world to support our sporting activities.
Mr. Speaker, following the qualification
of our national football team, the Black Stars, for the 2006 World Cup Tournament in Germany -- the nation's first ever - all the needed support and attention have been drawn to this and we need a lot of resources to prepare the Black Stars for Germany. We have received so far, quite a generous support from various donors. We have about three hundred million cedis from the banking institutions basically which have already come. Ghana Commercial Bank gave us a hundred million and opened a special account for people to add to it.