EDU Secretary-General discusses Ghanaian educational policies
“Education, Education, Education!”
H.E. Irving Levance, Secretary-General of EDU attends meeting with Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Yaw Konadu-Yiadom, who represents Ghana in the Kingdom of Belgium, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the European Union to discuss Ghanaian educational policies.
H.E. Mr. Yaw Konadu-Yiadom is a Career Diplomat and a Lawyer by profession who has served the Ghana Foreign Service for the past 35 years. He holds a Bachelor Degree (1972) from the University of Ghana, a Diploma in Practical and Professional Law (1974), a Diploma in International Relations from Australian’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1976) and a Diploma in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (1987).
Ambassador Konadu-Yiadom was called to the Bar in 1974.
His Excellency Mr. Konadu-Yiadom joined Ghana Foreign Service in 1975 and has served in various capacities at the Ghana’s Foreign Ministry and Missions in New York (UN), Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Spain, and Republic of Kenya.
He has also served as a member of several government delegations and represented the government of Ghana on many important international conferences.
Prior to his current appointment he was Ghana’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya and Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UNEP & UN-Habitat, United Nations Offices in Nairobi, Kenya.
He was a member of Ghana Refugee Board from 1996 to 1997 and remains a member of the Ghana Bar Association.
Immaculately presented, the Ambassador bade the Secretary-General a warm welcome. He was briefed on EDU, its role promoting international education and understanding, its program of establishing a voluntary system of accreditation for schools and colleges based upon legal status and competency to operate and it interaction with countries and other intergovernmental organizations.
Assisted by the his highly professional First Secretary, Mr Charles Osei-Mensah, Mr. Konadu-Yiadom that this was consistent with Ghana’s principal educational priorities which are to enhance the quality of education as a means to enhance economic activities and capabilities.
Ghana’s policy can be summarized as: “Education, Education, Education!”
It is seen as the means to improve prospects; it represents power and life and has the capacity to transform the economy.
Since independence Ghana has pursued sound education policies, including free primary and secondary education and programmes designed to augment attendance such as free school dinners and uniforms. These are especially aimed at countering cultural and traditional ideas that have led to a gender challenge: getting into school.
This applies to kindergarten, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. Tertiary education used to be free, but is now fee based. Government loans are available for this which must be paid back when the graduate enters employment.
The population has increased to about 25 million and youth accounts for some 60% of that total. Providing quality education to such a large proportion of the education comes with a downside. It must be financed and it costs a lot.
According to latest available statistics from United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, overall adult literacy is a little over 66%. Modern skills such as IT and computers are encouraged and represent an area that is progressing well. The government has provided computer labs and a policy of 1 laptop per child is in progress.
Many topics of interest were discussed, particularly concerning how to promote the best practices of cross-border accreditation, without undermining traditional belief systems and cultures.
Government policies also focused on the education and sensitization of parents aimed at addressing cultural biases which affected the enrolment of the “Girl-Child”. The sensitization has been successful with significant enrolment of girls in basic education. There are ongoing efforts to make tertiary education which was free in the post independent era, more cost effective.
Notwithstanding the above, H.E. Mr. Konadu-Yiadom noted that education in Ghana is faced with many challenges, given the scarce resources and other priority sectors of the economy such as health and agriculture. In the face of these challenges, the country continues to reform the education policies in tandem with government priorities and current global development. This has informed the current focus of the Government of Ghana on ICT, which has become a basic necessity and an education tool globally.
The Ambassador therefore welcomed initiatives such as EDU, recognizing that Ghana needs international help and funding to achieve its educational objectives.
Ghana does need and seek international help and fundraising. Education is not the only priority, with health and infrastructure also being considered a priority.
The Secretary-General explained the need to recruit further prominent and accomplished Ghanaian citizens to the EDU Assessment Committee and the Ambassador kindly offered to make inroads into doing so.
The Ambassador also agreed to pass on to his government information about EDU, its programs and what it stands for and to act as the primary point of contact for reporting this back the Ministry of Education.