Stakeholders in Ghana’s education sector have stressed the need for a collective effort to find immediate solutions to risks in the sector that may engender corruption.

Driving schools
Driving schools

They said while the risks were well known and had been documented, it was important to address the root causes so as to curb them from escalating into cases of corruption in the sector.

Speaking at a launch of a documentary on basic education in Ghana themed: “Highlighting the Corruption Risks in Basic Education in Ghana”, conducted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Mr Samuel Kaninda, Transparency International Regional Coordinator for West Africa, said it was ‘time for action’ to be taken on the risks identified by all stakeholders.

Mr Kaninda said there could be no talk of sustainable development of any country without a good educational system, thus the need to address corruption and risks of corruption in the sector.

He noted that TI, the mother organisation of the GII, had been working on the issue of corruption in education for a while, with its 2013 Global Corruption Index focused in the educational sector, and highlighted some of the issues in the documentary in other countries.

He stated that advocacy was best done with hard evidence thus the need to invest more time, energy and resources into getting to the bottom of the challenges in the sector, and also address the systemic issues by working with schools, learners and other stakeholders to identify them.

He said objectives set for the educational sector including increasing coverage and access would not be achieved ‘if we do not tackle the issue of good governance in the sector’, adding that it was necessary to involve citizens in the fight against corruption in all sectors.

“Unless we rally and get citizens from all sectors involved in the fight against corruption, sustainable change will not be achieved,” he stated.

The documentary was produced under the Transparency and Accountability for Higher Quality Education in West Africa (TAHQEWA) Project which sought to build transparency and accountability in the education systems of three West African countries; Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger by identifying corruption risks and challenges and applying effective measures to counter them.

The project was carried out at the basic level in the Asante Akyem South, Gomoa East, Assin South, Bolgatanga, South Tongu and Berekum districts.

Among some key risks identified in the documentary were; Teacher absenteeism, unapproved fee charges, diversion of resources meant for schools such as text books, ghost names on payroll, and exam malpractices

Mrs Linda Ofori- Kwafo, Executive Director of GII, said there would be the need to do more in addressing the issue raised in the documentary such as strengthening supervision, implementation of appropriate policies and sanctioning, where necessary of those who flout the rules.

She noted that issues identified posed risks to the welfare and performance of student, especially those from poor homes in rural areas, as they usually could to compete with those from better endowed homes in terms of purchasing textbooks, getting extra tuition or paying to secure admission.

“Poor people suffer the most from corruption in all sectors, that is why we are working to end corruption in all sectors,” she stressed, adding that the GII would follow up on commitments made by stakeholders at the launch, including CDD Ghana, UNESCO, GNAT, FAWE, GNACC, and GNECC, among others.

Source: GNA

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