Gov’t urged to implement fiscal decentralisation policy on education

The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), has called on government to streamline the current mode of allocating resources to public schools to curtail the fragmentation of resource flow and its related inconsistencies.

It said this should be targeted at fast tracking the implementation of the fiscal decentralisation policy of the education sector to ensure proper co-ordination of basic education resource flow for public basic schools.

This was contained in a policy brief on an Analysis of Resource Allocation and Disbursement to Basic Education, presented at a dissemination workshop on Education Sector Resource Expenditure Tracking in Accra.

The event, which brought together major stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues to improve the education sector, was on the theme: “Towards Achievement of Quality Basic Education Outcomes in Public Schools”.

Mrs Philomena Johnson, Co-ordinator of FPI, said the abysmal performance of pupils at the basic level prompted the Institute to research to know the exact cause of the declining performance.

She said the study discovered that expenditure allocation and disbursement of resources contributed largely to the poor outcome of performance at the basic level.

Mrs Johnson said the study focused on gap identification in the pattern of resource allocation and disbursement to public basic schools at the national level to establish effects on the current level of education outcomes in public schools.

Trends analysis of actual expenditure allocation from 2008 to 2010 was carried out, focusing on expenditure allocation trends on selected interventions which were deemed to have the potential to influence quality of service delivery and outcomes.

Mrs Johnson said the districts over the years had been receiving dwindling resources which made it difficult for programmes to be implemented to enhance education at the basic level.

She indicated that 10.1 per cent out of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was allocated to the districts but reduced to 1.1 per cent in 2009 and rose marginally to 9.8 in 2010.

She said the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and African Union had suggested that the actual expenditure for Ghana should be approximately six per cent of GDP which the country clearly exceeded.

The study also observed that tuition at the basic level of education had been characterised by more untrained teachers than trained teachers for the past five academic years.

Mrs Johnson said the number of trained teachers was higher than the untrained in 2006 to 2007 academic year after which the untrained teachers increased to its peak till 2010 to 2011.

On the Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme, she said the total basic education expenditure had been increasing over the years except for the 2011 to 2012 academic year.

She said it increased from 1.18 per cent in 2007 and 2008 to 1.35 percent 2008 to 2009.

As part of the recommendations, she urged government to reverse the geographical disparities in education outcomes by re-activating the 1999 Deprived Districts Policy which classifies one third of the districts as deprived, based on various education outcome and resource indicators for a more focused targeting of resources.

She also called for reversing the declining trends in Capitation Grant allocation and expand coverage in the 2013 education sector budget and motivation of teachers through establishment of specific policy incentives in the 2013 budget.

Mrs Johnson added that allocating resource to inspectorate division in the 2013 educational budget could also help in arresting the declining trends of performance in basic education.

Source: GNA

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