Festus Ankrah, represented IMANI at a workshop on “Transparency and Accountability for High Quality Education – Stakeholder and Political Will Analysis ” held at the Sun Lodge Hotel in Accra, on 4th MAY, 2016. He reports on the workshop.
Reported by Festus Ankrah | IMANI Africa
Transparency and Accountability for High Quality Education in West Africa (TAHQEWA) is a project being implemented by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in collaboration with Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S). The project seeks to build transparency and accountability in the education system of three West African Countries- Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Niger. In Ghana the project focuses mainly on the identification of corruption risk areas, challenges and the application of effective measures to counter such risk and challenges. The target level of education is the basic education.
The Executive Director of GII, Mrs. Linda Ofori Kwafo in her opening remarks highlighted the expected outcomes of the workshop:
• To harness stakeholders’ inputs in the development of the Political Will analysis Report;
• To establish a road map for the Advocacy of the project;
• And to establish a Stakeholder Review Committee to review the Final Stakeholder and Political Will Analysis Report.
Prof. Seidu Al-hassan, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Development Studies (UDS), the facilitator for the project made a presentation on the topic: Political Will Analysis – Highlights of Corruption Risks Identified
The presentation highlighted the objectives, the methodology and the findings of the political will analysis. To carry out the Political Will Analysis, a desk review was conducted and the findings were categorized as follows:
• Corrupt practices in the education sector
• Gaps/Corruption Risks in Ghana’s Education Sub-Sector.
Corrupt Practices in the Education Sector
The main literature review focused on David Chapman’s book (2002): Management and Efficiency in Education: Goals and Strategies. The presentation highlighted Twenty- Five (25) Corrupt practices in Ghana’s education sector.
1. Favoritism in hiring, appointments and promotions decisions
2. Diversion of funds (the N&G FMs)
3. Ghost teachers and employees
4. Requiring payment for services that should be provided free
5. Withholding needed approvals and signatures to extort bribes (e.g., gifts, favors, outright payments )
6. Directing the location of constructions and services to locations that offer opportunities for self-gain
7. Requiring the use of materials as a way of creating a market for items on which oneself, family or friends hold an import or production monopoly (the axe story)
8. Overlooking school violations on inspector visits in return for bribes or favors
9. Diversion of school supplies to private market
10. Favoritism in personnel appointments (e.g., headmasters, teachers)
11. Diversion of school fees
12. Inflation of school enrollment data
13. Imposition of unauthorized fees
14. Diversion of Ministry Of Education funds allocated to schools
15. Diversion of monies in revolving textbook fund
16. Diversion of community contributions
17. Siphoning of school supplies and textbooks to local market
18. Selling test scores and course grades
19. Manipulation of grades
20. Selling admissions (especially to higher education)
21. Teachers’ persistent absenteeism to accommodate other income producing work
22. Payment of bribes
23. Payment of excessive or unnecessary fees to obtain services
24. Skimming from project funds
25. Allocating (or accepting the allocation of) project related opportunities on the basis of candidate’s connections rather than on merit
Gaps/Corruption Risks in Ghana’s Education Sub-Sector
The presentation defined 3 conditions that allow systemic corruption to strive in any country:
A large number of laws, rules, regulations, and administrative orders to restrict business and economic activities
administrators having large discretionary powers with respect to interpreting rules, freedom to decide on how rules are to be applied, to whom and in what manner they are to be applied, vested with powers to amend, alter, and rescind the rules, and even to supplement the rules by invoking new restrictive administrative measures and procedures
No effective mechanisms and institutional arrangements in the country to hold administrators accountable for their actions.
The Presentation also showed 14 Corruption Risks and Gaps
1. A cumbersome command hierarchy which breeds difficult bureaucratic procedures
2. Lack of broad base involvement in processes of resource allocation and utilization
3. Poor teaching and learning and supervision at the school level
4. Poor security for administering examinations.
5. Weak accounting and monitoring systems
6. Decision making point: procurement, construction and allocation of funds to lower ends of the system
7. Payment of bribes by parents to gain favors for their wards
8. Illegal charges by school authorities
9. Teacher absenteeism which tends to reduce classroom contact hours unduly.
10. Considering earnings from the education sector as supplementary
11. Ignorance on the part of community members and local institutions (Parents Teachers Associations and SMCs) of their rights and powers in planning, managing, and monitoring resource allocation
12. Poor educational outcomes (low performance of students increases bribery in school admissions processes).
14. National programs (e.g. Funding for capitation grant lacking transparency and community involvement and meaningful participation by civil society actors.
Group Discussion Session
The session started with the creation of Three groups – National level Stakeholders Group, District level Stakeholders Group and the Non-Governmental Stakeholders. Each Group was tasked to achieve the following:
1. Identify relevant stakeholders in fighting corruption in the Ghana’s education sub-sector
2. What are their capacities? (including strengths and weakness)
3. What are their role or potential roles?
4. Develop an Influence Matrix of the key stakeholders (Power and Interest)
Group 1- National Level Stakeholders (IMANI’s Group)
A total of twenty-two (22) Stakeholders were identified as the National Level Stakeholders in fighting corruption in the education sector: – Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, National Inspectorate Board, GET FUND, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Auditor General’s Department (AGD), Teacher Unions, Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), Public Account Committee, West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) etc.
The Influence Matrix of fighting corruption in Ghana’s education sub sector had 8 of the 22 stakeholders with High Power-High Interest, 7 stakeholders were Low Power-High interest, 6 stakeholders were High Power-Low Interest and one was Low Power -Low Interest.
Group 2- District Level Stakeholders
A total of eighteen (18) stakeholders were identified as the district Level Stakeholders in fighting corruption in the education sector: – Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Regional and District Ghana Education Service, Faith-Based Organizations, School Management Committees (SMCs), Parent and Teacher Associations (PTAs), Traditional Leader etc.
The influence matrix of fighting corruption in the education sub sector had 7 of the 18 stakeholders with High Power-High Interest, 6 stakeholders were Low Power-High interest, 3 stakeholders were High Power-Low Interest and 2 were Low Power -Low Interest.
Group 3- Non Governmental Stakeholders
A total of 28 Stakeholders were identified as the Non-Governmental Stakeholders in fighting corruption in the education sector: Media, IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Christian Council, Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Donor Committee etc.
The influence matrix of fighting corruption in the education sub sector had most of the stakeholders at High Interest-Low Power level.
The workshop concluded with the stakeholders offering ideas and contributions on the way forward. Festus Ankrah who represented IMANI Center for Policy and Education was selected to be part of the Stakeholder Review Committee.
Festus Ankrah is a Research Officer and member of the Center for Social Policy here at IMANI.