The President of the Presbyterian University College, Rev. Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, has called for collaboration between the government and Christian missions for the effective running of schools established by the missions.
To that end, he called for a roundtable discussion between the government, Christian missions and other stakeholders to chart a way forward on the funding, management and recruitment of staff for mission schools.
Rev. Prof. Obeng was speaking at a forum organised by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Accra last Thursday to discuss the partnership between the church and the government in the area of education and the seeming sidelining of missions by the government in the running of mission schools.
The forum was on the theme: "Our partnership in education; the way forward."
Rev. Prof. Obeng advocated the crafting of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which expressed a convergence of will between the government and the Christian missions, intending a common line of action to which both parties would append their signatures and to which any government in power would be bound.
Christian missions, he added, should be made to commit financial resources to any such MoU and must speak with one voice on all matters.
Providing further strategies on how to strengthen the partnership, Rev. Prof. Obeng called for the establishment of a joint commission to review any partnership agreement signed between both parties.
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Rev. Prof. Obeng said his recommendations were based on the fact that governments over the years had ignored the Christian missions in decision making regarding mission schools, when those schools were not established by the government.
He said, for example, that recently the government introduced a major policy to make all colleges of education affiliated to some public universities.
From all indications, he said, the colleges were going to become campuses of those public universities and he wondered why the government could take such a decision without recourse to the missions which established those colleges of education.
He emphasised that the missions had played an important part in education in the country, adding that "it is through the missions that we can impart an all-round education to our children and ensure they are morally balanced, emotionally sound, psychologically equipped and physically fit."
It was, therefore, important that they were not sidelined or ignored, Rev. Prof. Obeng reiterated.
A Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the government was ready to meet the Christian missions and all other stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues concerning partnership.
He said the government was determined to ensure that the mission schools remained the best in the country and was ready to work with the missions in that endeavour.
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. J. O. Y. Mantey, for his part, said the church wanted an incorporation of strong religious and moral education in the school curriculum.
He said the church would enforce a dress code in its institutions, adding that in spite of the fact that people came into school to seek knowledge, it could not be done without the inculcation of strong Christian values in them.
Rev. Prof. Mantey said any attempt by any government to take away Christian values from its teachings in its schools would be fiercely resisted.
The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, who chaired the function, urged the state and the church to work together to "forge a transformational education system."
She said both sides needed to forge the partnership with a defined framework.
Justice Akuffo called on all stakeholders to examine the systems that were put in place in the years past, which produced great results, and inculcate them in any partnership that might be agreed upon.
The Chief Justice said all efforts needed to be made to bring quality into education, especially now that the taxpayer's money was being used to make it free.