Education Sector in NPP 2020 Manifesto: Here are the False, Misleading Claims

On Saturday, August 22, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) launched its 2020 manifesto at an event at the University of Cape Coast.

The manifesto details the policies, programmes and projects the NPP government hopes to implement across different sectors if reelected in the 2020 general elections. It also highlights some of the promises in the party’s previous manifesto and what the government claims it has done so far.

Fact-check Ghana has begun verifying some of the claims made by the party in terms of it’s delivered promises across various sectors. This report examines some of the claims of achievements in the educational sector.

Claim 1: “TVET Qualification Framework developed…”

Verdict: Completely False

 Explanation:  The National Technical, Vocational and Education Training (TVET) Qualification Framework was developed for the awarding of all TVET qualifications that are delivered in the competency base mode of TVET delivery.

According to the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), the proposal for the creation of the qualification framework came jointly from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Master Plan for strengthening TVET in Ghana and a group of Ghanaian consultants.

The National Technical and Vocational Education and Training Qualifications Framework (NTVETQF) was approved by Parliament in 2012. This followed the passing of LI 2195 under the COTVET Act on September 3, 2012.

Indeed, in the 2016 manifesto of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the development of the NTVETQF was included in the achievement of that administration. In the manifesto, the party stated that it “established National TVET Qualifications Framework (NTVETQF)”.

Also, on August 11, 2020, when the Minister of Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, delivered a statement on education in parliament, he admitted that the NPP administration came to meet the NTVETQF, which he said had not being utilised.

“Mr. Speaker, let me state that until this government assumed office, the National Technical and Vocational Education and Training Qualification Framework (NTVETQF) was on the shelves gathering dust. I am glad to report that 6817 learners have been certified of the qualification framework,” the Minister said.

It is therefore completely false when the NPP states in their manifesto that they developed the TVET Qualifications Framework.

 

Claim 2: “We have not only restored it [book and research allowance]: we have increased by 200%.”

Verdict: False

Explanation:  To begin with, the claim about the restoration of the book and research allowance has previously been made by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, and has been fact-checked as false by Fact-check Ghana.

The book and research allowance was not cancelled by the erstwhile NDC administration to warrant a restoration.

The NDC administration in 2013 announced that going to review the book and research allowance and replace it with the national research fund. The decision was opposed by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), which staged a number strikes to register their protest.

UTAG and POTAG contended that they did not oppose the establishment of the national research fund, as it was an idea they first mooted in 2006. They, however, believed that the fund should not give rise to the scrapping of the book and research allowance but should complement it. Their demands were, however, not fully accepted by the Government of Ghana.

Despite the disagreements, the NDC government in its last year in power, 2016, paid the book and research allowance for the 2015/2016 academic year. This was announced by President John Dramani Mahama at the 50th congregation ceremony of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on July 6, 2019. He said the government had released GH¢37 million to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to pay the book and research allowance.

The payment was further confirmed by the then President of UTAG, Dr. Harry Agbanu, that the various universities had picked up their cheques from the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).

On the claim about the increment of the book and research allowance by 200%, checks by Fact-check Ghana with some senior lecturers and executives of UTAG of some public universities reveal the government has only increased the research allowance (from GHC 500 to 1,500) and not the book allowance which still remains $1, 500. A 200% increment in research and book allowance as claimed by the manifesto would have meant that while the research allowance has been increased to GHC1500, the book allowance would have been $4500 but the book allowance has not changed.

Indeed, the Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the week before the launch of the manifesto confirmed in parliament that the government had “approved a 200% increase in the allowance, from the GHS500 to GHS 1,500.”

Thus, the claim about the book allowance is false and the claim bout increasing book and research allowance in the way it is captured in the manifesto is very misleading.

Claim 3: “Implemented [the Free SHS Policy]. The current enrolment stands at 1,199,750 students from 2017 to 2019. This is not limited to arts, business, and science subjects: it also covers Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), in essence, the initiative is Free SHS and TVET.  52.1% of all these students are male and 47.9% female.”

Verdict: Misleading

Explanation:  The claim that the NPP administration has delivered Free TVET as part of the Free SHS policy is misleading.

In the 2017 budget statement (pg. 148), the finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta, announced government’s plan of implementing a free Senior High School (SHS) programme which included technical and vocation institutions.

“Mr. Speaker, as part of our commitment to improve access to education at all levels, Government will implement the comprehensive free public Senior High School (SHS) programme starting with the 2017/2018 academic year. This will include technical and vocational institutes,” the statement said.

However, the free SHS programme only covers a few Technical and Vocational Education and  Training (TVET) Institutions in the country.

There are over 300 public TVET institutions nationwide which, according to the Ministry of Education, are managed under 19 different ministries including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Currently, according to the National TVET advocacy team, only the 48 public TVET institutions which are managed under the Ministry of Education enjoy the free education policy. This has resulted in the advocacy team’s call on government to ensure that the free SHS policy covers all TVET public institutions.

Ms. Gifty Twum Ampofo, Deputy Minister for Education in charge of TVET, according to media reports, indeed confirmed in December 2019 that the free SHS policy does not cover all TVET institutions and, therefore, promised that government will, in September 2020, ensure all TVET students benefit from the free SHS policy.

“So by September next year, students who will be enrolled in the TVET education will enjoy the Free Education policy to make sure that every Ghanaian Child has enjoyed the Free Education policy,” she said during the 7th Graduation ceremony of Biriwa Technical, Vocational Education and Training in the Central Region.

It is therefore  misleading when the manifesto says the government has delivered a free TVET as part of the Free SHS programme.

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