The subject of unaccredited institutions offering tertiary education in Ghana is common knowledge, while the acquisition of degrees by some Ghanaians from unaccredited and bogus institutions from overseas is known to plague the Ghanaian society, but a UNESCO report released October 24, 2017 has pointed these out.
UNESCO’s 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report which highlights the responsibility of governments to provide universal quality education and stresses that accountability is indispensable in achieving this goal points out that there is evidence in Ghana of private institutions submitting misleading information – for example qualified professors listed for accreditation purposes disappear from employee lists after approval.
The report titled: Accountability in Education – Meeting our commitments, also found that in the UK, Higher Education Degree Datacheck, which verifies diploma claims and investigates fraudulent degree-granting in that country, has identified over 180 bogus education providers.
Citing the US, the report said regulators have penalized several institutions, such as Corinthian Colleges, charging that they engaged in predatory lending and misled students about job prospects.
The report looking at school feeding programmes, notes that while all food providers should target those most in need, acknowledges that Chile’s nutrition programme, based on household vulnerability, is well targeted to poor students: An evaluation found that 80 per cent of total programme funding to primary schools was concentrated in the lowest two income quintiles. Providers bid online, specifying information on meals, pricing and adherence to strict nutrition and hygiene regulations. An autonomous public corporation, reporting to the Ministry of Education, manages providers and monitors targeting, supported in part by twice-yearly household surveys. At the school level, teachers allocate meals and, with a private contractor, record daily participation to monitor targeting.
However, in Ghana, the report found that only 21 per cent of feeding programme benefits accrued to the poor, prompting retargeting to the poorest communities.
“Reports also suggested widespread political interference and a lack of government funding for regular monitoring. In addition, poor community participation limited school-level implementation efforts,” it said.
The report however finds that Ghana does better than some richer countries on the UNICEF Early Child Development Index (ECDI), which is derived from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).
The Index has wider country coverage, and it is currently the main tool for reporting on global indicator 4.2.1. It draws on 10 questions addressed to parents, grouped in four dimensions. Children who meet the conditions of at least three dimensions are considered ‘on track’. Less than two-thirds of children aged 36 to 59 months were considered developmentally on track in countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritania and Nepal.
“While the indicator correlates strongly with income per capita, there are some exceptions. For example, Algeria, Jordan and Iraq score lower than Ghana, despite being significantly richer. In Mexico, almost 20 per cent of children are not developmentally on track,” the report said.
On tertiary enrolment growth, the report indicates that overall, women have outpaced men in tertiary enrolment growth, resulting in disparity favouring females in almost all regions. As Southern Asia moves towards closing the gap, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where women still do not enrol in tertiary education on a par with men, it added.
“In many countries, women outnumber men as graduates but lag behind men in completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. In Chile, Ghana and Switzerland, women account for less than one-quarter of all STEM degrees. By contrast, women in Albania, Algeria and Tunisia are more likely than men to earn a STEM degree,” the report said.
According to the report, there are today 264 million children and youth not going to school – and urges that this is a failure that “we must tackle together, because education is a shared responsibility and progress can only be sustainable through common efforts,” adding that this is essential to meet the ambitions of Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG 4), part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Governments, schools and teachers have a frontline role to play here, hand-in-hand with students themselves and parents, it says.
The report however, finds that, while increasingly, local governments are given the task of delivering education to the end of secondary schooling, responsibilities between the central and local levels in decentralized systems are often not sufficiently clear.
“Case studies for this report showed unclear and overlapping responsibilities in Bangladesh, Ghana, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam. In Mexico and Poland, lack of clarity on lines of accountability has resulted in officials shifting blame and citizens having difficulty identifying who is right. Decentralization aspirations set out in Morocco’s 1999 National Education and Training Charter have yet to be fully realized, owing in part to insufficient training on new responsibilities,” the report notes.
On report cards, the report found that head teachers are supposed to post the cards openly, but most reportedly post the information only in their offices. In Pakistan, Punjab uses data from the province’s education management information system to produce report cards for its 54,000 public schools. However, getting all schools to disseminate the information has been difficult, since there are no regulatory consequences for not doing so, it said.
While noting that school report cards do not always provide transparency, the system implemented in 2011 in Ghana covers enrolment, student performance, attendance, textbooks, teacher attendance, grants and school meetings.
The report notes further that in poorer countries, emphasis on instructional leadership is less evident, though principals’ roles in influencing school improvement has grown. It states that in Ghana, school leaders regard themselves as no more than keepers of school possessions and implementers of government policies, while in Kenya and Cameroon, school leaders have wide-ranging responsibilities.
“A study on community involvement in school monitoring in Ghana found teachers unresponsive to community action, partly because they felt accountable to the school hierarchy that hired them, not the community,” the report said.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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