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Wed, Aug

The return of mission schools to religious bodies laudable, but …

It is the desire of all governments to provide quality education for the youth, so that they will grow up to become useful citizens.

This is because character formation is key to building a solid human resource base for the development of the country.

Quality education can only be achieved through stakeholder engagement, and that is why the government, teachers, parents, students and the community have to team up to ensure that children do not only enrol in school but also stay in the classroom until they have acquired the skills that they can use in adult life.

Some few decades ago, religious bodies played a very useful role in the provision of quality education in the country. Some of the best schools at the basic and the secondary school levels belong to those religious bodies, either Christian or Islam.

In those days, discipline in our basic schools was not a matter that could be compromised. Students, teachers and even parents dreaded the presence of school inspectors from those mission schools.

Those were the days when attendance at religious services was compulsory, no matter one’s religious denomination.

Today, the Fourth Republican Constitution states clearly that Ghana is a secular state, for which reason it will be difficult for religious bodies to enforce the same principles of religious education without breaching provisions of the Constitution.

Nonetheless, the religious bodies have, for quite some time now, been agitating for the return of all mission schools to them to manage. They argue that the decline in moral and quality education and indiscipline among the youth are as a result of the government’s decision to take over mission schools, although it lacks the resources to manage them.

Anytime the religious bodies have raised the issue of the return of their schools to them, other stakeholders in education, particularly parents, have brought up the issue of cost in case the religious bodies take over the mission schools.

The issue of cost might not arise, as the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has indicated that just as the government pays the salaries of doctors, nurses and staff of some mission hospitals in the country, the state will continue to take care of the salaries of teachers of mission schools after the appropriate contract has been signed between the government and religious bodies.

The minister said this at a stakeholders’ meeting on education in Kumasi, during which he announced that the government would soon return the management and supervision of mission schools to religious bodies, in fulfilment of the 2016 manifesto pledge of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Daily Graphic believes the religious bodies will be happy with the latest move by the government, but the move comes with a lot of responsibilities on the shoulders of all religious leaders.

What beneficiaries of education look up to is access to quality education, so that they can contribute their quota to nation building.

Our prayer is that this new partnership succeeds in the interest of Mother Ghana.