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IMANI Report on the 3rd Annual Learning Summit of the MasterCard Foundation

On June 1st 2016, Camfed (Campaign for Female Education), a non-governmental organisation, held The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program: 3rd Annual Learning Summit at the National Council for Tertiary Education. The summit provides a platform for stakeholders in the education sector to discuss key issues that will enhance education in Ghana. This year, the summit was on the theme: ‘Mainstreaming Support Services to Students within the Education Sector’. Festus Ankrah and Keshia Osei-Kufuor of IMANI attended.

 Reported by Festus Ankrah and Keshia Osei-Kufuor| IMANI Africa 

The event started with a welcome address by Dolores Dickson, the Executive Director of Camfed Ghana, and remarks from the chairman, Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, as well as the Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. The importance of Guidance and Counselling (G & C) in education was raised. It was stated that Camfed, which is at the forefront for championing female education, had introduced teacher-student counselling in 2009 as part of their programs.


An Education Consultant, Mr. Kofi Asare, presented his findings on ‘Scoping Study on the Implementation of G & C in pre-tertiary education institutions in Ghana’. The main idea behind this study was that, if prevention were the best cure, providing G & C while in early life would be beneficial to overcome problems with learning later. However, despite this link, little was being done by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to provide G & C.

At a district level, it was found that regional offices weren’t always fully resourced and lacked funds. The G & C sessions were provided in two types of schools: Senior High Schools and Basic Schools. The features are as follows:

Senior High Schools (SHS) Basic Schools
Endowed Schools Less Endowed Schools  
G & C was provided mostly in mission schools Usually, just the G & C coordinator provided G & C, rather than delegate to other staff G & C staff were mostly priests and chaplains, so there was no separation between religious services. They also weren’t adequately trained
Staff who gave G & C were given reduced instructional hours, to have more time to do G & C Staff did not have their instructional hours reduced
G & C was done in offices in the schools, which made privacy possible and so more students subscribed G & C was usually provided in the staff common room G & C took place mostly in group form

At the end of the presentation, a number of proposals were recommended; including:

  • The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the Capitation Grant could be sources of funding for G& C activities;
  • Schools with more than 500 students, should engage professional G & C staff;
  • Schools with less than 500 students, should train teachers to volunteer;
  • The Ministry of Education (MoE) should adapt and implement the draft G & C policy, which has been in draft for over 10 years;
  • The MoE and the District Assemblies should provide offices in all schools for G & C and also enforce G & C services in private pre-tertiary schools;
  • GES should regularly train teachers in G & C until they can provide specialized people.

Panel Discussion One

Three discussants, Mr. Charles Aheto-Tsegah, the Director of the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA), Dr. Augustine Tawiah, the Executive Secretary for the National Teaching Council (NTC) and Dr. Eric Ananga, the Head of the National Center for Research into Basic Education then took to the stage. They discussed the extent to which G & C was mainstreamed, the benefits of it, and how to incorporate it into the curriculum.

It was advanced that schools should take responsibility for the wellbeing of their students because they spend the majority of their time at school. Student support services are often inadequate. This leads to a lower completion rate of pre-tertiary education. In a study looking at support services in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, it was found that in Ghana, only Ashesi University had a good support system for their students.

In schools, some things to improve G & C could be to make a timetable for G & C, to do open days, and for the NCCA to propose G & C sessions for teachers, to promote bonding and assessment of performance. In the curriculum, G & C should be integrated into every course in college, monitored by the National Inspectorate Board of GES, and incorporated in the assessment of Teacher Registration and Licensing by the NTC.

Panel Discussion Two

The three discussants, Mr. Bright Appiah, the Chairperson of Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Ms. Ivy Mawuena Kumi, the Director of the Guidance & Counselling Unit of the GES and Ms. Ruth Tawiah, a student of the university of Education, Winneba, talked about their experiences of G & C.

It was stated that although this year marked the 40-year anniversary of G & C in the GES, not much has been achieved, especially in basic education and more attention needs to be given to it. It was also suggested that there may be a gender issue with the provision of services, so female counsellors should be trained to make female students feel comfortable, and G & C should be taught in all schools of education.


The summit ended with closing remarks and an evaluation of the event.


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