The policy with regard to education in the country of both parties has been outlined to Ghanaians to read and draw their conclusions which party best seeks to have the country at heart.

The NDC promised to "vigorously reform and expand access to professional legal education and provide the opportunity to all qualified LLB holders to undertake the professional law qualification course."

Unlike the NPP that promised to expand infrastructure for access to professional legal education.

The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has commended the policy proposals on education contained in the 2020 manifesto of the NDC.

Acting Executive Director of IFEST, Peter Anti, said the flagbearer of the NDC, John Mahama factored in a lot of the concerns of the various stakeholders in the education sector.

"It is responsive because if you look at some of the policy proposals, they are what has been in the public domain for some time now -- like legal education…That is what people have been clamouring for.

"The reforms to the legal education – that every law school should be able to train their own professionals – and at the end of the day they [students] can go and write the exams; like they do for all other professions," he said, adding that apart from the NDC's promise to remove the barriers to assessing the loans, they have also indicated they will ensure early disbursement of the loans and also a promise to increase the loan amount," he said.

Pulse.com.gh reviews the manifesto promises of the NDC and the NPP in the education sector ahead of the 2020 elections.

New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto on education

Over the next four years, The NPP in the education sector said it will:

•consolidate the implementation of the Free SHS and Free TVET programmes

•continue to increase the manpower resources and teaching facilities, including the use of ICT teaching aids, of public tertiary institutions to support the expected increases in student population from the Free SHS graduates

•make sure no student who has obtained admission to a tertiary institution is denied access because they are unable to pay fees. We will provide all such students, with the exception of teacher and nurse trainees who are paid allowances, an option to obtain a student loan:

•without the requirement of a guarantor for the loan, provided he or she has a National Identification Number from the GhanaCard, and

•defer repayment of the loan after National Service plus an additional one-year grace period

•implement the US$219 million Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) to improve the quality of education in 10,000 low performing basic education schools across all 260 districts and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana

•learning grants will be disbursed to the targeted schools as a top-up to the capitation grant

•the programme will provide support and resources for teachers, support for school management, accountability systems, and monitoring and evaluation

about 2.3 million pupils and 76,000 teachers from the targeted schools will benefit directly from the project

•put in place a comprehensive National Teacher Policy and implement a National Digital Literacy Project for teachers

•the benchmarks will include teachers’ standards and professionalism, teacher education and continuous professional development (including digital literacy), working conditions, recruitment and retention, career structure and pathways for progression, recognition and reward system, accountability, school governance, social inclusion, and social dialogue

•train and employ more teachers for Early Childhood Education, Primary, French, STEM, TVET, Special Needs and other areas as needed

•reduce the number of out-of-school children in Ghana by providing a uniform identification and tracking of every student

•establish a national Knowledge and Assessment Bank, a comprehensive digital library to allow all Ghanaian students/learners access to learning materials and also provide a repository of assessment tools for assessing learning by teachers and instructors

•deepen the implementation and use of the Campus portal which provides free access to educational content for the core subject areas to all SHS students

•continue to provide a 24-Hour dedicated television channel for the delivery of lessons on the GBC Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) platform and the National DTT platform as a Free-toAir Broadcast

•implement a robust state of the art Learning Management System (LMS) to enable teachers to create supplementary content and deliver online instruction and assessment

•provide Made-in-Ghana digital devices pre-installed with digital content for SHS students and teachers • complete the provision of free Wifi at all senior secondary schools and public tertiary institutions and training colleges

complete the implementation of the 5-year Strategic Plan on TVET and establish a national Skills Development Fund

•through the Zongo Development Fund, in collaboration with GETFUND, build 16 model Senior High Schools in Zongo communities across the 16 regions of the country

•increase resources and infrastructure for special needs education across the country

•expand infrastructure to increase access to professional legal education

continue with our infrastructure development programme across all levels of the education sector, and

•implement the existing Inclusive Education Policy, by establishing, revamping, or equipping regional special education assessment centres to facilitate early and accessible assessment for children who may have special education needs.

NDC manifesto on education

Teacher Motivation

The next NDC Government will:

•revisit and make functional the agenda of providing special incentives for teachers who accept postings to rural and deprived communities

•increase teachers retention premium

•train and motivate teachers and caregivers in special schools

•abolish the mandatory national service and teacher licensure examinations for graduate teachers

•restore automatic employment of newly trained teachers

•fast track promotions and applications for academic progression

open special credit lines to facilitate access to loans

•provide teachers with free tablets to facilitate teaching and learning

•restore the automatic employment of newly trained teachers to improve the teacher-student ratio

•collaborate with teacher unions to implement a special regime allowing teachers to own vehicles under affordable terms

•reinstate the payment of responsibility allowances to teachers

Basic School Education

The next NDC Government will:

•expand and refurbish educational facilities to make them fit for 21st-century education

•provide all eligible children especially those in under-served areas, with the necessary support and incentives to remain in school,

•increase budgetary allocation to basic education to enhance teaching and learning activities

•provide pre-school facilities closer to markets, ministries, and city centres to ease the burden of child-care on mothers and promote productivity while the children learn

•encourage the private sector to invest in pre-schools and recreational facilities for their workers

•ensure quality learning through the allocation of teachers, improved pedagogy, appropriate learning spaces, provision of teaching and learning materials and effective supervision, and motivation and support of teachers

•expunge Comprehensive Sexuality Education from the school curriculum

•create opportunities for early visual and audio screening of pupils to detect and support children with special needs

•create opportunities for out of school children to receive an education while encouraging the application of the right entry age to school

•raise levels of numeracy, literacy, self-esteem, and responsible citizenship by extending opportunities to market women, commercial drivers, labourers, and head porters ‘kayayei’ through an extended Complementary Basic Education based on more flexible school hours

•increase engagement with schools through community (regional and district offices, traditional and religious leaders, unions, among others) commitment and more efficient use of existing structures

•set up a panel of experts to conduct a thorough assessment of the current curriculum and make recommendations on the way forward with the view to improving standards, addressing distortions, and bridging the quality gap between public and private basic schools

•embark on a rapid roll-out of modern technological learning tools (including blended learning and IoTs) to transform the scope and nature of education at this level acknowledging challenges exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic

•restore Arabic studies that have been taken out of the new curriculum by the NPP, and proceed to recruit Arabic teachers, thereby, lifting the current ban.

Secondary Education

•make the Free Senior High School Programme better by ensuring that its numerous challenges are addressed, and higher standards introduced

•expand the Free SHS programme to cover students in private Senior High Schools in underserved/deprived areas

•abolish the double-track system

•complete abandoned structures for secondary and technical education including abandoned E-Blocks to cater for current students and expected increase in admissions

•strengthen and sustain private participation in the delivery of secondary education

•ensure newly created regions have functioning directorates of education

•commence the construction of at least one Senior High School in districts without the same

•set up schools in disadvantaged, over-populated, and under-served areas including Zongos and other deprived communities

•expand existing and well-performing schools to admit and accommodate more students including Ghanaians abroad who wish to imbibe our culture

•promote the use of IT and provide free Wi-Fi in schools to enhance the performance of students

•provide students and teachers with free tablets loaded with relevant content to facilitating teaching and learning

•provide computer laboratories for all secondary schools

•address challenges with the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS)

•decentralise and strengthen procurement of food and other materials to the heads of the SHSs and their bursars

•provide residential facilities in schools to accommodate teachers and educational staff

•restore free expression and eschew intimidation among stakeholders

•revisit and scale up our intervention of providing free sanitary towels to needy and vulnerable females with the aim of keeping all girls in school throughout the academic calendar as we improve on their health and general well-being.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

•provide free Technical and Vocational Education at the secondary and tertiary levels

•implement a free National Apprenticeship Programme by establishing centres in TVET institutions in districts to provide free training and sponsor youth for free apprenticeship training with certified master craftsmen/women

•commence a programme for the establishment of ultramodern and fit-for-purpose Technical Institutes in all regions that do not have any

•review NABPTEX and COTVET standards and make them compliant with Smart Automation Certifications under the global Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA)

•rebrand Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to promote interest and acceptability amongst the youth as a programme of the first choice and provide incentives for TVET students and instructors

•re-launch the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to serve as an intervention fund to cater for TVET graduates and others who venture into self-employment

•encourage and provide packages for females to enroll and be retained in male-dominant vocations h. train more TVET teachers

•intensify practical and theoretical knowledge in technical and vocational training

•regularly engage stakeholders to narrow the gap between industry and training

•deepen life skills, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in TVET curriculum to create more jobs

Special Needs Education

•collaborate with the Paediatric Society of Ghana and parents to institute early medical screening for new-borns and pre-school children in order to identify children with special needs and address their challenges

•train more facilitators in specialized areas to effectively assist children with disabilities and monitor their growth

•provide modern assistive medical devices such as hearing aids and walking sticks to children with special needs

•expand existing areas of expertise beyond visual and hearing impairment

•incentivise qualified special educators and other multi-disciplinary team members to forestall their high attrition rates

•implement a programme to aggressively re-equip all special needs schools and improve the learning conditions of staff and students

•significantly increase the budgetary allocation to special schools.

•provide affordable special needs schools

•provide tax reliefs for working parents with special needs children to enable them to pay for 24-hour care for the children while they are at work.

Tertiary Education

•repeal the Public Universities Act if enacted and allow public universities to exercise the autonomy the Constitution has clothed them with

•strengthen the regulatory role of the National Council for Tertiary Education

•absorb fifty percent (50%) of fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year as an incentive to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and parents

•establish free Wi-Fi zones in all public and private tertiary institutions

•provide free laptops to tertiary students to facilitate participation in virtual classes

•encourage shared laboratory experiences especially for those in the science and technology programmes and include private tertiary institutions

•complete the conversion of all polytechnics into Technical Universities(TUs) in line with our original vision of creating opportunities for professional mobility of practitioners

•reposition the TUs to produce relevant manpower for national development j. equip all Amatrol labs and provide appropriate training both home and abroad for instructors k. operationalise the National Research Fund

•expand medical education, training of Physician Assistants, nurses and midwives, and preventive health practitioners to sustain Free Primary Health Care for all

•enhance staff exchanges across/among public/private institutions especially among distinguished and experienced professionals n. encourage and support private investment in infrastructure especially for student accommodation and transportation

•Create equal opportunities for females and individuals with special needs

•establish universities in the six new regions

•maintain the status quo with regards to payment of allowances for teacher and nursing trainees

•abolish the mandatory national service and teacher licensure examinations for graduates of the Colleges of Education

•restore automatic employment of newly trained teachers

•provide free tertiary education for persons with disabilities

•support tertiary institutions to invest in virtual infrastructure

Legal Education

•vigorously reform and expand access to professional legal education and provide opportunities to all qualified LLB holders by granting accreditation to certified law faculties to undertake the professional law qualification course

•review the Legal Profession Act in consultation with stakeholders, and establish a Council for legal education and training, to accredit certified law faculties to run the Professional Law Course subject to the oversight supervision of the Council

•establish a faculty of law in the Northern Region to serve the northern sector

Student Loans

•resource the Student Loan Trust Fund to make timely and adequate payments to students

•increase students' loans to be commensurate with prevailing educational costs

•abolish the requirement of guarantors as a pre-condition for accessing student loans to enable more students who need financial assistance access the loan

•replace the guarantor eligibility system with possession of a recognised National Identity Card to facilitate tracking post-school tracking and loan recovery

•extend loan repayment period to ten years including a three-year moratorium to commence repayment

•remove all impediments to the ability of students to easily access the facility

•extend coverage to students in public and private tertiary institutions.

•reintroduce the SLTF Plus to enable students to access loans upon admission.

Life-long Learning

•Promote life-long learning by providing free literacy skills for market women, commercial drivers, labourers and head porters ‘kayayei’ etc. in collaboration with other relevant institutions

•modernise and rebrand the non-formal education sector to make it more attractive

•improve digital literacy

•promote closer collaboration between the Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education, the Bureau of Ghana Languages, and the NCCE for comprehensive and effective continuous public and adult education on responsible citizenship

•reposition the Ghana Bureau of Ghanaian Languages to efficiently promote the development of Ghanaian languages.

Restoring Credible Examinations

TheNDC recognises that conducting credible examination sine qua non to globally competitive and respected education. There is an urgent need to protect the sanctity of examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council following recent reports of widespread leakage and alarming malpractices particularly during the 2020 WASSCE which threatens the very foundation of Ghana’s education and the certificates issued therefrom.

The next NDC Government is determined to boldly confront this canker by conducting a surgical inquiry into the causes and the factors that have brought us to this unacceptable point after which comprehensive reforms will be carried out to restore the credibility and good image of examinations.