Education think tank, Africa Education Watch is advocating for an increment in the budgetary allocation for student loans by the government as a means of eliminating the financial barrier to education in the country.
The group’s Executive Director, Kofi Asare believes this will increase access to and boost inclusion in education.
Speaking at the education forum organized by Citi TV/Citi FM and Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday [April 14, 2021] said:
“We recommend that GOG must increase the allocation of the GETFund that goes into the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF). The GETFund law says that up to 10 percent must be allocated to the SLTF. We believe that if the minimum threshold is set in the law, it will ensure that there is enough for the loan fund, bearing in my mind that government is about to introduce a guarantor-free system, which means that we need more money.”
Kofi Asare made the point that although the government has set a target of 40 percent gross tertiary enrolment by 2030 from the current rate of 18 per cent, the situation where the loan is disbursed at the end of the academic year defeats its very essence.
According to him, many students lose their admission or drop out due to the late disbursement, hence the need for an increase in the budgetary allocation to address the situation.
The virtual forum, which was themed “Reducing barriers to accessing education in Ghana”, discussed widening inclusion in Ghana’s educational sector.
Other resource persons at the forum included Amankwa Asiamah, the Chair of the Select Committee on Education in Parliament; Michael Nsowah, a former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Joyce Larnyoh the Chair of the CSOs Platform on SDG 4.
For them, the huge physical, infrastructural and financial barriers continue to be a major hindrance to the inclusion needed to make education available to all children of school-going age.
Joyce Larnyoh for instance was emphatic on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education of many, particular girls, and various other challenges impeding the education of girls.
She called for collaboration among relevant agencies, as well as awareness creation for some gains to be made.
“The issue is quite big, and we need to look at it holistically. We should talk about these issues with some inter-agency collaboration and address the issues. My emphasis is on what COVID-19 has brought and the matters arising on the education of school girls. The mantra of we are not leaving anyone behind including disability and inclusion is something we have to address.
Purpose of forum
The speakers handled issues concerning the oversight of the education sector, its policy framework, gender and inclusion issues and assessed the effectiveness of the institutional and policy framework.
It identified layers of discrimination or lack of opportunity that inadvertently deny students the right to be educated and make proposals of how to address them.
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences is proposing a widening of the public discussion to ensure that the country’s educational system really becomes the engine for driving SDG4.
The forum was moderated by the host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Koku Avle.