The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has said the $1.2 million World Bank grant for digital literacy will be channelled into resourcing deprived basic schools identified across the country.
He said the money would be used for the provision of furniture and teaching and learning materials to enhance the learning environment.
Dr Adutwum added that the Ministry of Education executed the teachers’ digital literacy project from its own resources as a condition precedent before the World Bank disbursed the grant, saying the replaced fund could be channelled into improving infrastructure in basic schools, including those described as “schools under trees”.
“I have been able to do the project with zero cost to the government. I’ve used existing resources, leveraged the government’s expenditure on the one-teacher, one-laptop initiative and used that platform to accomplish something that was not done before I took over,” he said.
Dr Adutwum was interacting with the Daily Graphic Editorial Conference, an assembly of editors and gatekeepers, chaired by the Editor of Graphic, Kobby Asmah, yesterday.
With the minister were the Technical Advisor for School Performance Improvement, Angela Affran, and the Head of Corporate Affairs, Kwesi Abankwah, both of the ministry.
It was the second time the minister had called to interact with the Editorial Team.
He also took time to visit G-Pak, the printing subsidiary of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, which is printing some government textbooks.
The minister also visited the Managing Director of the GCGL, Ato Afful, where the former reiterated the fact that the ministry would partner the Junior Graphic to ensure that the newspaper was made available to all basic schools.
Dr Adutwum said the teachers’ digital literacy project was expected to train 40,000 teachers in digital literacy to trigger the disbursement of $1.2 million from the World Bank under the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP).
However, he said, he executed the project using an existing governmental educational platform set up without paying for the building of a new platform, which would have cost the government about $200,000.
That, he said, saw the training of more than 41,000 teachers in computer literacy, stressing that the $1.2 million from the World Bank was safe and at the bank.
Project financing changes
Dr Adutwum said World Bank project financing had changed significantly.
“In recent years, it has decided to no longer hand over a pot of money and say ‘use it to do this or that’ because of corruption. So what it does is ‘Resource let funding’,” he said.
He also said in the case of the IT training of teachers, it was a grant tied to the loan.
The minister noted that the World Bank conducted due diligence before the $1.2 million was disbursed.
“The World Bank logged onto the website from Washington, DC, checked everything and was satisfied. And then it asked the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as the lead developing partner in Ghana, to also constitute a team of IT experts and check it again.
“They too checked the entire platform, verified the numbers and then certified the project. And on April 19, 2022, $1.2 million was handed over to us,” Dr Adutwum said.
The Daily Graphic checked from the World Bank Country Office for an independent confirmation of the minister’s assertions.
The World Bank confirmed that under GALOP, financing was disbursed against the achievement of pre-agreed and independently verified results.
In a response provided by the Senior Education Specialist, The World Bank, Africa Region, Eunice Yaa Brimfah Ackwerh, the development bank said per the protocol, the Ministry of Education provided the details of the number of teachers trained in using distance learning methods, which were verified by the Development Partners’ Group and accepted by the World Bank.
“The financing was released upon this confirmation. The World Bank remains committed to supporting Ghana in its efforts to improve education for all,” Ms Ackwerh said.
Ghana Education Service
The minister also disclosed that until recently, the Ghana Education Service (GES) had been in charge of school supervision, including private schools, but the new educational reforms, backed by law, had created some new entities that had assumed those responsibilities.
“When it comes to school supervision, now that is being done by the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA). The GES was in charge of professional development and teacher training, but now that is being done by the National Teaching Council (NTC). The GES was also in charge of curriculum review and development through the Curriculum Review and Research Division (CRRD), but now that work is being done by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA),” Dr Adutwum explained.
He said it was the legal structures that had mandated that all those functions be taken away, not that the minister wanted to be over-assertive.
“The last one is the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Service that took away all the 45 technical and vocational schools from the GES. All these schools are now with the TVET Service and no longer with the GES,” he said.
Mr Asmah expressed appreciation to the minister for the visit and expressed the hope that it would further deepen the relationship between the ministry and the GCGL.
He appealed to the minister to keep his doors open for the GCGL for timely and accurate information on the ministry and its works.
“We are going to knock at your door every step of the way and engage you because your sector is very important in the architecture of this country. If this nation would do very well, your ministry would lead the way,” he said.
Mr Asmah added that the Daily Graphic and its sister publications were ready to partner the ministry to make the educational sector chalk up more successes.