Concerned about the low gross level of tertiary education enrollment in Ghana, the government is implementing sweeping measures to increase enrollment from the current 18.8% to 40% by 2030, including the creation of an open university and changing student loan requirements.
In his State of the Nation address to parliament on March 9, President Nano Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that, 64 years after independence, “we still do not have the critical mass of graduates from the higher education which is necessary for our socio-economic transformation. .
“We must therefore introduce measures to consciously increase the proportion of our population with relevant higher education to accelerate the transformation of our country,” he said, describing the 40% target.
“This will be achieved by dramatically increasing enrollment in existing public and private universities and by creating an open university. We expect a record number of registrations over the next four years, ”he said.
As part of the decision to increase the enrollment rate, President Akufo-Addo said the government would remove the “guarantor requirement” that made it difficult for most students to apply for loans through the fund program. trustee for student loans.
In this system, an active person provides a guarantee for any student who applies for a student loan.
The president said the government is committed to fostering the growth of fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with an emphasis on engineering.
For this reason, Akufo-Addo said, the government would continue to develop 20 centers and eight model science high schools across the country.
“These institutions will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories, which will facilitate teaching and learning in all fields, including artificial intelligence and robotics,” he said.
The initiatives announced by Akufo-Addo come shortly after the announcement of the QS World University Rankings on March 4, which showed that Ghanaian higher education is doing well in areas such as forestry and agriculture as well. than health sciences.
Technical and vocational education
Akufo-Addo thanked Parliament for passing the Education Regulatory Bodies Act of 2020 (Act 1023), which he said established the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training and the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) service, adding that, “all these [initiatives] will help streamline TVET delivery and avoid overlap and duplication ”.
The government will also build 32 TVET institutions across the country.
In line with the government’s commitment to tackle the problem of youth unemployment through TVET, the government will begin with the implementation of the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project, which aims to accelerate the development of competency-based training programs this year.
Within the framework of the national qualification framework for TVET, 100 trades or professions at different levels of qualification will be established; 25,000 beneficiaries will be trained and entrepreneurial support will be provided to around 50,000 people.
Akufo-Addo said the government will also implement Ghana’s labor market information system and modernize the district’s public employment centers and services.
Another key objective in efforts to improve the quality of education and ensure that students become competitive globally is to maintain the integrity of Ghana’s examinations and assessment. New measures to tackle exam leaks and malpractice are on the cards.
The president said the first cohort of students under the free high school policy implemented in 2017 passed their final exams last year.
About 60% of the applicants achieved good grades in all major subjects, including English and Mathematics, which qualified them for higher education.
He recognized that teachers are at the center of any education reform and prioritizing the well-being of teachers remains a key government goal.
“After the reinstatement of teacher training allowances, the government now pays professional allowances to teaching and non-teaching staff.
“I am pleased to announce that the government is facilitating the acquisition of 280,000 laptops this year for members of the Ghana National Teachers Association, the National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Concerned Teachers Coalition.” said Akufo-Addo.