The Vice Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the December 7, 2020 elections, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, was not wrong when she indicated that the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum should be bold enough to admit that he needed help to run the all-important ministry.
Indeed, minister Adutwum seems not on top of his game, and there are indications that the education sector is running into a ditch.
The government’s flagship programme, Free Senior High School (Free SHS), which was effectively rolled out is now in tatters; something teachers and workers in the country’s second cycle institutions could attest to.
The minister is always inconsistent with issues bordering on Free SHS, and it is becoming clear that Dr. Adutwum did overhype himself, as someone who was abreast with the country’s education sector.
It is also noted that the minister’s recently-held press encounter would have been better off if not held at all, because all the things he spoke about at the media encounter were nothing new.
For instance, instead of Dr. Adutwum telling Ghanaians what exactly his ministry is currently doing to deal with problems confronting the Free SHS programme, he was rather interested in talking about how ‘Class Four Pupils’ would be examined; a situation that ended up exposing him as being ill-prepared for the media encounter.
It could also be noted that the posture of the education minister, is creating huge problems for government, as majority of Ghanaians, today, feel that government has hoodwinked them into believing that the Free SHS was feasible, when, indeed, it was not.
The education minister, who had earlier said that parents who could afford to pay for school fees of their wards could do so, later had to run away from his position, after Ghanaians fixed him on the spot and dissected both him and the Free SHS for what they meant.
Heads, teachers as well as non-teaching staff of certain schools have had to raise pertinent questions on the quality and quantity of the food that students in SHS have been consuming, because, according to them, supplies have not been forthcoming.
Hitherto, supplies to schools were better because there were better negotiating skills by those in charge of affairs. Today under the watch of all-knowing minister, however, suppliers are treated anyhow, and that is the main reason why supplies to schools were not going on well.
It is an established fact that, government, through the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), is indebted to food suppliers who supply SHSs with food stock; but the suppliers have always been ready to deal with the system, until Dr. Adutwum became the Minister of Education.
The Ministry of Education itself has been witnessing the exit of some top personnel in recent times; something that has never happened in the annals of the ministry.
Some three brilliant top officials of the ministry had to leave, just because they could not stand the all-knowing attitude of Dr. Adutwum.
On the labour front, the education sector seems to be losing it, as there are chaos within, with strikes and threats of strikes becoming the order of the day: All because of the poor negotiating skills of the current minister.
The minister is not even able to call Unions to a round-table for talk; a limitation that has also derailed the peaceful labour atmosphere that has prevailed for years, in the education sector.
But for the National Labour Commission (NLA), the education sector front would have been more chaotic, as most of the unions in the sector, in one way or the other agitate about issues that must be resolved by government.
From the way the education sector is being handled under the leadership of Dr. Adutwum, Ghana’s education is on suicide dive, and very soon, one must be afraid the ‘bombs’ would detonate and what that means is that the education sector could be collapsed, totally.