The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has commended the policy proposals on education contained in the 2020 manifesto of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to the education think tank, two words that aptly describe the policy document that was launched on Monday, September 7, 2020, are "responsive and interesting."
Acting Executive Director of IFEST, Peter Anti, told GhanaWeb that the John Dramani Mahama campaign for the 2020 polls seems to have factored in a lot of the concerns of the various stakeholders in the education sector.
"It is responsive because if you look at some of the policy proposals, they are what are what have been in the public domain for some time now -- like legal education…That is what people have been clamouring for.
"The reforms to the legal education – that every law school should be able to train their own professionals – and at the end of the day they [students] can go and write the exams; like they do for all other professions," he said.
Another indication that the 2020 manifesto of the NDC is responsive, according to Mr Anti, is the section on the students' loan.
According to IFEST, apart from the NDC's promise to remove the barriers to assessing the loans, they have also indicated they will ensure early disbursement of the loans and also a promise to increase the loan amount.
"The complaints from the students have mostly been about the amount given out and time they receive it. So they [NDC] seems to have solved these problems directly," Anti told GhanaWeb on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
Another responsive feature of the NDC's 2020 manifesto is the focus on examination malpractices, especially leakage of examination questions, Anti said.
"You see that there is a whole sub-section on examinations, whereby they are saying that they will look at the credibility of the exams conducted by WAEC [West African Examination Council] and all that. So you see…most of the issues are direct responses to the calls from parents and other stakeholders," he stressed.
He, however, noted that aspects of the NDC's 2020 manifesto are intriguing because they sound overly ambitious.
He cited the promise by the John Mahama 2020 campaign to rope in the private sector into the free Senior High School system.
"If you look at the free SHS, we think that the financial system of the free SHS is burdening the education budget. But then they [NDC] are saying that we are going to rope in schools in the private sector, so that they parents whose wards are in the private schools will come and enjoy. That is what we mean by 'it is interesting'," Anti said.
Another interesting aspect of the NDC's 2020 manifesto, is the promise to make technical and vocational education free at both the secondary and tertiary level, IFEST surmised.
"The total budget allocation for TVET education in Ghana over the years has never been more than 3% of the entire budget in the education sector. So if you are saying that you are going to do a free TVET from the secondary to tertiary level, then it is interesting," Anti argued.
He said while they are interesting, they are not impossible and urged the NDC to provide further explanations about how it intends to go about some of its policy proposals in the coming days.