PFor Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four — on education — the government has been urged to intensify its efforts in addressing inequalities and exclusion in the sector.
According to the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), despite strides made by successive governments in the sector, the disparities in the access to education remained a barrier.
At the launch of this year’s Global Action Week for Education in Accra yesterday, GNECC Chairman, Mr Kofi Asare said many children in rural areas and those physically challenged were being left behind.
This year’s edition of the week, marked annually to highlight issues affecting education, is on the theme “Strengthening citizen participation and accountability in education management: a milestone for achieving SDG4.”
It was organised by GNECC, as part of its mandate as member of the Global Campaign for Education, and attended by stakeholders in education including teacher unions and civil society organisations.
The SDG-4 focuses on quality education and aims to ensure that by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
However, Mr Asare said it was estimated that rural children in public basic schools had only 20 per cent of making it to the tertiary level while those in urban areas had 40 per cent due to the poor quality of public basic education.
Other challenges , he said included the inability of parents in rural areas to afford early child care education for their children before age four with majority of them skipping nursery schools and enrolling at kindergarten, disadvantaged.
Of about 100 schools being constructed by the government nationwide, he alleged that it was difficult to find one that was disability friendly, a situation he said was discriminatory.
Mr Asare therefore urged the government to ensure access to free, quality basic education from KG to Junior High School in rural areas and put in place measures to address other disparities in relation to infrastructure and disability.
“Education underpins many SGDs, and it is fundamental to the realisation of other rights. Citizens must therefore galvanise to keep the government on track”, he said.
Ms Gifty A. Apanbil, a Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) said redress of teacher workforce policy issues could facilitate the attainment of the SDG-4.
She listed them to include compensations, improved conditions of service to attract and retain them to areas where their services were needed most, capacity building, provision of adequate amenities in schools and timely provision of teaching and learning materials.
Former Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Mr Charles Aheto- Tsegah called on all stakeholders to play their respective roles in not only achieving the SDGs but improving education in the country.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR