Members of Parliament have been urged to, at least, make sure that the Affirmative Action Bill is enacted this time around when it is laid before the House by the new Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sara Adwoa Safo.
The appeal was made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday when he delivered the State of the Nation Address.
“Our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are looking up to us on this. Indeed, it will make our society the richer, and I am appealing to the House, on both sides, to make one big effort to ensure its enactment.
“I am pleased to inform the House that, in the course of this session of Parliament, the new Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome Kwabenya, will resubmit to the House the Affirmative Action,” he said.
Many civil society organisations have urged government to pass the bill within the shortest possible time.
ABANTU for Development, a female-based non-governmental organisation, believes that when Ghana’s affirmative action bill is passed into law, it will ensure that many more women find themselves in key positions in governance, public life and in decision-making spaces that will improve the lives of women in the country.
The President also disclosed that the government has begun absorbing registration fees for candidates writing the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in public schools across the country.
According to the President, the absorption of WASSCE registration fees forms part of several interventions by his government at the Senior High School level.
The President added that “Government is facilitating the acquisition of 280,000 laptops for members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Association.”
He further disclosed that the Minister of Education would soon “detail an action plan for the implementation of the National Teacher Policy.”
“Government has also introduced several interventions at the High School level, some of these are the GHS198 million academic intervention programme dedicated for extra classes for students in SHS.
“Implementation of free internet connectivity for secondary schools, full absorption of BECE registration fee for all for students in public junior high school from 2017 till date, and full absorption of WASSCE registration fees for students, which started last year,” he added.
Meanwhile, the President has also revealed that government, through the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), will introduce new measures to curb examination malpractice among examination candidates in the country.
“A key objective of our effort to improve quality education and ensure that our students become globally competitive is to maintain the integrity of our examinations and assessment. In connection with this, government, working through WAEC, will introduce new measures to curb examination leakages and malpractices,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
According to the President, the government is targeting a 40 per cent increase in enrolment of students into tertiary education, bemoaning the fact that Ghana, after so many years, does not have the critical mass of tertiary education graduates required for its socio-economic transformation.
To this end, he said, there is the need to put in place measures to increase consciously the proportion of the population with relevant tertiary education to accelerate the transformation of the country.
President Akufo-Addo emphasised that government would also focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields, which have the potential to increase the enrolment ratio from the current 18.8 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030.
“As part of our commitment to the advancement of STEM, Government will continue with the development of twenty (20) STEM centres and eight (8) model Science Senior High schools across the country. These institutions will be fitted with state-of-the art equipment and laboratories, which will facilitate teaching and learning in all areas, including artificial intelligence and robotics,” he said.