The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has launched its report on political parties' electoral promises on education.
The report dubbed: “Civil Society Evaluation of Electoral Promises Under Education; Achievements, Challenges and Way Forward”, seeks to track the implementation status of promises made in the 2012 National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) Education Manifesto to assess the extent to which the manifesto promises have been fulfilled.
It also evaluates the 2016 Manifesto promises of the NDC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union's Agenda 2063, and the current educational needs of the country to ascertain the level of compliance.
According to the GNECC, of the numerous political parties in Ghana, the NDC and NPP, were selected because, as at the time of conducting the study, they were the only political parties contesting the December 7 Polls, whose manifestoes had been launched.
The Convention People's Party (CPP), which is also participating in the Polls, is yet to launch its manifesto on Sunday, October 23. The report's evaluation covers Early Childhood, Basic Education, Secondary, Teacher Development, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Launching the report in Accra, Mr Bright Appiah, the GNECC Chair, said the manifestoes’ assessment revealed that while most promises attempted to address various challenges in the education sector, a significant number of them were not linked to education priorities agreed on both national and international levels.
He explained that failure to link the promises to international development frameworks like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, would have negative implications for the achievement of recommended goals and targets, which served as a guide for which strategic actions needed for the educational sector.
He said with regard to the NDC 2012 Manifesto, the Coalition observed that there was a strong commitment by the NDC-led Government to expand access and improve the quality of basic, secondary and TVET.
However, he said, some promises in the Manifesto were mostly not measurable and definitive, thereby making it impossible to evaluate. Mr Appiah noted that although Ghana was moving towards decentralised education management, none of the major political parties listed in its manifesto plans towards rolling out the Education Decentralisation Act, when passed into law.
The GNECC Chair, on behalf of the Coalition, recommended that future manifestoes be more definitive, specific, measurable, realistic and had time-bound promises as well as a costing plans. He said the promises must take into account the available resources, more so when Ghana already committed more than five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into education.
He, therefore, called for more emphasis on addressing improvement of learning outcomes and inequalities in the distribution of education facilities and resources. Mr Appiah also tasked political parties to consult civil societies in the development of manifestoes as that would ensure broader policy and strategic options for political parties in developing manifestoes.
On the Methodology used in conducting the study, Ms Veronica Dzeagu, the GNECC National Coordinator, said in undertaking the research, the 2012 and 2016 Manifestoes of NDC and NPP and Education Policy documents were analysed.
“The relevant performance reports of government agencies and Ministries, global and regional frameworks for development of education SDGs and AU Agenda 2063 and other related relevant secondary data were also reviewed,” she said.
She explained that the criteria used for the analyses included contextual relevance, practicability, measurability and compliance with the SDGs, in particular Goals Four and Five, Goals and Strategic priorities of Agenda 2063, and Ghana’s own current education strategies.
Ms Dzeagu said the report represented the findings of the assessment and makes recommendations on the priority areas to which attention should be given to develop education delivery as a way forward. The GNECC is a network of civil society organisations, professional groupings, educational/research institutions and other practitioners interested in promoting quality basic education for all.
Formed in 1999, the Coalition has steadily grown over the years with a current membership of about 200 organisations. Its philosophy is premised on the fact that education is a fundamental human right and key to breaking the cycle of poverty.