University of Cape Coast now UNESCO centre of excellence

BY: Shirley Asiedu-Addo
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum - Minister of Education
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum - Minister of Education

The Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) of the University of Cape Coast has been inaugurated to start work as a UNESCO category II centre of excellence.

The centre has been charged to support to position the country's education system as one of excellence and achievement in Africa.

The 09:26:50, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said while a lot had been done in the area of education in the country, much was still needed to be achieved to make the education system a time tested one, and called for a united effort to create a robust education system that could transform the fortunes of the country.

Politicisation

Addressing the ceremony to launch the institute’s new status in Cape Coast, Dr Adutwum said it was time to remove the political colourisation on the country's educational system and join hands to make education beneficial to the nation's developmental agenda.

"I want the story to be written one day, 20 years from now that we all came together and created a nation where education was centre stage, not for one political party but education for the Ghanaian," he stated.

Dr Adutwum noted that the category II status had placed enormous responsibility on the IEPA to training, leadership and research for educational institutions and planners in Ghana and across the continent, saying he was optimistic that the institute would live up to expectation.

Cultured youth

He observed that Ghanaian children were cultured and ready to learn, and that “if we could get the right policies in place we could train a creative and talented generation who would be equipped to lead the country and world”.

Dr Adutwum said there was the need to look critically at developing  science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, saying the job systems were fast evolving and the education system must brace itself to train creative, critical learners, where children created knowledge for solving problems.

Build confidence

He said the educational strategic plan was solid, adding that it was time to stop politicising education and to work to ensure Ghanaians had confidence in the system.

Dr Adutwum said instead of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) spending so much time lambasting each other, “we must give Ghanaians the confidence that we have their best interest at heart”.

The minister said a lot of the work on the 2018-2030 strategic plan was begun by the NDC and was being implemented by the NPP, giving the assurance that education in the country was moving in the right direction.

IEPA

He said the ministry would tackle head-on schools which had only one per cent of its products entering tertiary institutions and others which had only 10 per cent of their products passing into higher institutions, and pledged that the ministry would provide the needed support to help the IEPA to execute its mandate.

The Director, General of the IEPA, Dr Michael Boakye-Yiadom, in an address, said the IEPA was established in 1975 as an autonomous entity, through a joint UNESCO/UNDP and Government of Ghana agreement within which the UNDP provided the initial funding for the operations of the Institute.

He said following the expiration of the agreement in 1980, the government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, took over responsibility of the institute with full funding by the government for the institute through annual budgetary allocation.

The Institute’s initial mandate was to train experts and non-experts in educational leadership as well as generate and disseminate reliable information through research to inform educational policy planning and implementation.

Strengthening research

The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Professor Johnson Nyarko-Boampong, said the IEPA's new status and goals were aligned with his vision to strengthen research capacity and output to position the university as a centre of excellence and pledged the university's support to the institute.

The Country Director of UNESCO, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, in his address, said while the times required skilled digital solutions, many teachers did not have the requisite skills to prepare the youth.

He congratulated the institute and  the Government of Ghana for the prompt efforts at the establishment of the institute into a UNESCO category II status, and said he was certain the institute would continue to support in implementing UNESCO’s mandate and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Four.