Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating in the education sector have urged the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, and his Deputy, Rev. Ntim Fordjour, to reduce the talks and initiate more action to show their competence on the job.
According to the CSOs – which included Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) and the Coalition against the Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education (CAPCOE), the high hopes expressed by the public during the vetting and appointment of the current education ministers, especially Dr. Adutwum, are gradually fading away; because since he assumed office it has been one promise or another, with practically every policy initiative they introduced falling apart or missing the timeline.
Executive Director-Eduwatch, Kofi Asare, stressed that Dr. Adutwum during the ministerial vetting in 2017 had the highest approval ratings and was even more popular than the then Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, when he was a deputy minister at the time.
Unfortunately, the teachers who were rooting for him then are those criticizing him now, meaning he has not served to expectation since he was recommended to take up the top position.
“So far, textbook procurement has gone bad; the National Standard Test (NST) has gone bad; the academic timetable for schools is still an issue and absolutely no one is being held accountable for all these scandals in the education sector. The only justifiable explanation I can think of is that he has still not yet settled into office”.
“He should speak less and act more; he should resist the temptation of speaking to the media on issues when he is not 100 percent sure about their timeliness. He should be careful about making promises and pronouncements on reforms,” he said.
He emphasized that the Ministry of Education (MoE) holds the country’s destiny in its hands, and therefore must be very deliberate about their communication and circumspect of actions.
He further advised that they quicken their pace of operation, make sure they are on top of issues before they speak on the subject matter, exert authority in the sector and ensure people are punished for all the wrong things they do.
“In short, I would urge that in terms of communication he will have to talk less and put in a lot more action. As for the Deputy Minister, Rev. Fordjour, he seems to be reiterating some of the things the minister has already said.”
Mr. Asare emphasized that implementing the NST was a new policy introduced by Dr. Adutwum and should have been an opportunity for him to make a landmark impact, but he didn’t get it right.
Executive Director of IFEST, Peter Anti Partey, emphasized that a leader’s words are supposed to carry weight, and this can be achieved only in a situation when whatever he says is executed and when he gives timelines they come to pass – indicating that looking at Dr. Adutwum’s background and experience in the sector, for instance, procurement issues, especially in relation to textbooks and other teaching-learning materials, should not have missed out on timelines.
“He seems to be doing a lot of talking and less action; when you start making promises and missing deadlines, it casts deep darkness on your image as a leader. And since he assumed office, he has announced a few projects but could not meet any of the timelines given”.
“For instance, In June 2021 he announced that textbooks for the new curriculum would be getting to the schools in three months’ time, which was to be in August/September. However, he interestingly went back to Parliament in December to still talk about the procurement of textbooks and the challenges”.
“Again, talking about NST, he gave a November deadline; but even in December, they couldn’t write the exams, thereby extending the academic calendar by some seven weeks. Even as of now, training of trainers for the ‘Common Core Programme’ – another initiative is now taking place”.
“In the short-term, the CSOs are calling on the minister to be able to issue sanctions and punishments for people responsible for the failed schools timetable, delay in textbooks and failed NST. The minister must be able to exert his authority not only in the ministry but also other agencies in the education sector because all the issues being raised are as a result of someone’s inefficiency or negligence.”