Plan International Ghana, an NGO, has appealed to the government to integrate the Hyundai-KOICA Technical Institute under the free Senior High School policy by September 2019 to ensure inclusive education.
The organisation said the Institute was founded by government but not being run by the Ghana Education Service and was therefore regarded as private school, which has become a disincentive for enrolment.
Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, the Country Director of Plan International Ghana, made the call on Wednesday in Accra at the launch of this year’s Global Action Week for Education organised by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC).
The programme was on the theme: “Taking Action to Address Inequalities and Exclusion in Education for the Achievement of SDG 4: My Education, My Rights”.
The organisation in 2012 in collaboration with Hyundai Motor Company, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and GRATIS Foundation established the Hyundai-KOICA Technical Institute in Koforidua.
The Institute trains the youth in a three-year course to become auto mechanics and electricians who can further their courses in Universities to become engineers.
He said as at June 2018, 175 students passed out of the school with 98 per cent of the girls and 68 per cent of boys granted scholarships to give opportunity to the rural poor who are being excluded from acquiring secondary education because of their inability to pay fees.
Mr Tesfamariam said building a strong technical and vocational education would help minimise the youth unemployment problem which had become the main cause for many social vices in the country.
He said there seemed to be a subtle exclusion of a number of the youth from exercising their right to education in the country, saying it was important to ensure equality for all at the same time.
One of the targets in the Sustainable Development Goal four is to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities by 2030.
He said the organisation would continue to partner government to provide quality education in the areas of infrastructure, teaching and learning materials, training of teachers and the provision of scholarships to students.
Mr Tesfamariam said developed nations such as Germany and Japan were able to have a sustained growth in their economy because they have always promoted Technical and Vocational education in their education system.
“Technical and Vocational education presents a unique opportunity for young people to undertake the necessary education and training to meet the needs of national and international companies”, he added.
Mr Kofi Asare, Chairman for GNECC, called on the government to ensure that children living in rural communities and urban slums have access to free quality basic education that guaranteed quality learning outcomes from Kindergarten to the Junior High School.
He said the Ghana Education Service must take the issue of teacher accountability very seriously, adding “Without a properly supervised and accountable teacher, there will never be quality learning outcome in public basic schools,”.
He appealed to government to expand infrastructure at the secondary level to accommodate the increasing numbers to phase out the double track system.
Madam Gifty Apambil, the Deputy General Secretary of Ghana National Association of Teachers, speaking on the topic “Teacher issues – Enhancing Teacher Quality in Driving the SDG4” said teachers were the centre of quality education and called on the government to improve on their conditions of services to attract and retain them.
She called on government to take into account the welfare of teachers to improve teacher motivation to entice them to work in areas where they are needed and as well institute a continuous professional training to upgrade their knowledge.
Dr Peter Obeng-Asamoah, the Chairman, Ghana Blind Union advocated for the inclusion of blind persons in the implementation of SDG four to ensure holistic education.
He said some blind students did not have access to text books; “if people with text books are failing how much the visually impaired students”.
“We admonished the government to invest in providing electronic brail to facilitate learning for the visually impaired in this technological era. We believe that the value of education should be considered and not the cost”.