Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang
Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang

The Ministry of Education has decided to award and recognise outstanding schools as part of its annual Best Teacher Awards.

The new award category, according to the Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, will not only recognise academic performance, but will also take into consideration variables such as the school’s environment, sanitation and staff.

The Minister announced this at the meet the press session in Accra Tuesday. The Best Teacher Award which is in its 20th year aims at rewarding the efforts of teachers and encouraging others to do same.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang described the programme as successful irrespective of the challenges that have confronted it.

She said, “Our proposal now is to expand this category to include awards for best schools. We will look at variables to include school environment, sanitation, teacher attendance, relation among the community, heads, teachers, non-teaching staff, students and of course the academic output also.”

She further explained that the award scheme will be structured in a manner that will not only acknowledge one particular school as the best, rather, the schools will be grouped into categories as a means of enhancing quality delivery.

BECE subsidy

According to Prof Opoku-Agyemang, the Ministry of Education provided capitation grant amounting to GH¢24,472,840 for 5,751,198 pupils in public basic schools for the 2012/13 academic year.

She said the ministry also subsidised the registration of BECE candidates to the tune of GH¢9,031,238.

Free SHS

Prof Opoku-Agyemang noted that the ministry would progressively implement the free senior high school education policy.

She said the ministry has drafted a roadmap to be presented to cabinet for approval.

“Under the guidance of the proposed roadmap we anticipate that fees for day students will be abolished at an estimated cost of GH¢71 million in the year of implementation. Other reliefs in respect of boarding students will be announced when the roadmap is finalised,” she said.

200 community schools

Prof Opoku-Agyemang mentioned that contracts have been signed for the 50 community schools which will be supported by government and the GETFund. She said another 23 new senior high schools which is expected to enrol about 15,000 students upon completion, would be supported by the World Bank.

She said as part of the programme, the ministry would also improve 50 senior high schools through expansion and rehabilitation of existing structures and facilities such as science and computer laboratories and libraries to increase enrolment.

Credit arrears

According to Prof Opoku-Agyemang, the ministry last year established a monthly union forum to create an atmosphere for all issues agitating the teacher unions to be discussed.

She said the forum was made up of personnel from the Ghana Education Service, the National Council for Tertiary Education, the Ministry of Finance, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, the Public Services Commission as well as the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

According to her, at the forum, a proposal was made that the unions forego their unpaid arrears as a result of the introduction of the Single Spine Salary Structure but it was rejected by the unions.

She therefore, noted that arrears have paid for 2012 and 2013 while those of 2010 and 2011 remain outstanding.

She said the Fair wages and Salaries Commission is therefore, expected to liaise with the Accountant General’s Department to determine the total cost involved

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