Education Minister Has No Power To Close Down Schools

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has stated that the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, does not have the power to close down any pre-tertiary institution.

According to the association, the relevant provisions of the Pre-tertiary Education Act made it clear that the management of the pre-tertiary school system was the onus of the District and Regional Directorates of Education.

“Under Section 66 of the Pre-tertiary Education Act the Minister may give policy directives to the GES Council, therefore in our view it is improper for the minister to make the statement he made in Kumasi.”

The General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Tanko Musah, stated these in a press release issued and copied to the Gha­naian Times in reaction to the alleged threat by the Minister of Education to close down non-performing schools.

It said the attention of GNAT, had been drawn to the statement by the Minister of Education challenging Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) and Principals of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institu­tions to improve their educational outcomes or stand the risk of their non-performing schools been closed down as reported by some media.

The statement said the Minister no doubt knew that the efficient and effective manage­ment of basic and senior high schools was the responsibility of the District Education Office and the Regional Education Office re­spectively and the TVET takes responsibility for the management of technical schools.

“Furthermore, the Minister is amply aware that it is the Ghana Education Service in collaboration with the Local Government Service which ensures that the District Education Office and Regional Education Office perform their assigned duties under the Pre-tertiary Education Act, 2020 (Act 1049),” the statement added.

It said the governing body of the GES was the GES Council as provided for under Section 10(1) of the Pre-tertiary Education Act. The Heads of Schools were under the GES and the GES in turn was under the GES Council.

The statement explained that the minister was not clothed with the power to threaten or hint the closure of any pre-tertiary insti­tution as carried by the story, not when the Education Service Council had advised such, and not when the ministry had not supplied the institutions with the critical logistics required to run effectively.

“Is the Minister not aware, that under his watch, the Capitation Grant for the basic schools is in arrears for two years and the subventions to the Senior High Schools in arrears for over three years? Thus from where comes the threat (challenge in his words), to CHASS and Principals of TVET institutions? Mr Minister, please come again!” the statement added.

The statement urged the Minister to advise the government to consider introducing a cut-off point for entry into the Senior High Schools, and the Technical and Vocational Training Institutions as a measure to urge students to advance academically.

The statement expressed concern about the categorisation of the schools and institu­tions into ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D,’ with their con­sequent admission procedures of students with higher grades being admitted to the ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools, others into the ‘B’ and ‘C,’ and the ‘near do well,’ ‘fringes’ and ‘tassels,’ sometimes with aggregate 45 and above into the ‘D’ schools and so on.

“In this arrangement and compartmen­talisation, how do we expect the grade ‘D’ students to do well when we have already pronounced judgment on them, and the schools and institutions empty of the logistics with which to educate them,” the statement added.

The GNAT has, therefore, called for an overhaul of the system, and the schools and institutions equipped to improve their out­comes and avoiding the risk of closure.