The Minority in Parliament is demanding the immediate withdrawal of the pre-tertiary education bill to allow for broader stakeholder engagement.
According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the government needs to engage with relevant stakeholders including educationists, chiefs, opinion leaders, amongst other interest groups, and integrate their views on it before the House approves it.
Parliament is currently considering three Bills on Pre-Tertiary Education (2019), which passed will among others make basic schools, Senior High Schools, and TVET institutions, independent of the Ghana Education Service.
Under section 32(3) of one of the Bills, 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.
However, several interest groups including teacher unions in the country have kicked against some of the provisions in the Bill and have demanded further discussions on it.
Speaking on the sidelines of a donation exercise, Mr. Iddrisu said the concerns raised by the groups are legitimate and must be considered before the bill is passed.
“My plea to the president is for him to withdraw the pre-tertiary education Bill for a more thorough national consultation and discussion,” he said.
“I am not principally against decentralization or decentralized roles in basic education but there are legitimate concerns raised by the stakeholders. At least I have read a formal correspondence from the Catholic Secretariat and their concerns are legitimate. Are our district and metropolitan assemblies ready to do the responsibilities and obligations we are creating for them?” he quizzed.
He further described as unconstitutional plans to add secondary education to basic education and 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.”
Cited Articles 25 through to 38 of the 1992 Constitution to buttress his claims, the Tamale South MP urged the President not to forget that Ghana is part of the West African sub-region.
“To make Senior High School a necessary part of basic education is wrong in theory, wrong in practice and wrong constitutionally…. He [Akufo-Addo] is doing a constitutional wrong to say that SHS is part of basic education. He should also not forget that Ghana is part of the West African sub-region, has he asked other leaders in the subregion whether they are doing same? Because there must be congruity,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minority leader has donated 1,000 desks worth GH¢300,000 from his Social Investment fund to five schools in the Tamale South constituency.
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.