Stop capping GETFund — Dr Abbey
The government has been urged to end the capping of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to enable it to provide the urgently needed school infrastructure to accommodate the large number of students in the country.
The Executive Director of Ignite Media, Dr Randy Abbey, who made a strong case for a review of the Ghana Education Trust Fund Act, 2000 (Act 581) at the 92nd Speech and Prize-giving Day of Accra Academy School in Accra at the weekend, challenged the government to review the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947) to stop the diversion of funds accrued for other uses and fully restore the ability of GETFund to provide infrastructure in schools at an accelerated rate.
He said that would also ensure the provision of quality education.
Dr Abbey, an old student of Accra Academy, further explained that the provision of the earmarked funds for each financial year, which was equivalent to 25 per cent of revenue, had reduced GETFund’s inflows drastically, inhibiting development of infrastructure in public schools.
He, therefore, called on the government to take advantage of the 2024 Budget and Economic Policy Statement to stop capping the GETFund.
The media practitioner and sports entrepreneur also urged Parliament to desist from approving proposals that eventually hurt state institutions charged to deliver specific mandates in the interest of the country.
Dr Abbey in justifying his call said: “In 2022, the government moved the capping of funds such as the GETFund from 25 per cent to 70 per cent by passing the Enhanced Earmarked
Funds Capping and Realignment Act. This law was a piercing stab to the very heart of infrastructure development in schools”.
“This is because it assigned a paltry and anaemic 30 per cent of the revenue meant for infrastructural development in schools to the GETFund.”
Dr Abbey regretted that even with the capping and realignment, the disparity between allocations in the budget and actual releases painted a gloomier picture.
“According to the GETFund disbursement formula in the Hansards of Parliament, in 2018, GH¢924.8 million was allocated.
However, GH¢404.72 million, representing 44 per cent, was released,” he said.
In 2019, GH¢1.21 billion was allocated.
However, GH¢557.97 million or 49 per cent was released, he added.
In 2020, GH¢1.23 billion was allocated, but GH¢695.47 million, representing 64 per cent was released.
In 2021, GH¢1.44 billion was allocated, however, GH¢676.09 million, representing 47 per cent was released, Dr Abbey submitted.
He said based on the negative impact, the capping was to have on the provision of educational infrastructure, the passage of the law was met with spirited protests and petitions from civil society organisations, teacher and student unions but the government did not heed.
Dr Abbey said, presently, the reality had dawned and wisdom behind the protests manifested, because it was evident that the capping and realignment law had further reduced the ability of the GETFund to provide infrastructure in schools.
He urged parents and old students of Accra Academy, his alma mater, to set up a fund to mobilise resources for a major legacy project to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the school.
Dr Abbey donated a seed fund of GH¢50,000 and appealed to all to support that endeavour.
The Board Chairman of the school, Justice Jones Mawulom Dotse, said the institution had always endeavoured to uphold the principles of excellence, integrity and committed to nurturing future leaders.
He charged the students and teachers to take advantage of every opportunity to uncover limitless potential.
“I entreat you to embrace your learning.
Education is a lifelong journey. Learning is a process and not just grades.
So you must be curious, passionate and never stop learning,” he said.
The Headmaster of the school, Emmanuel Ofoe Fiemawhle, said the values instilled in the school went beyond academic which included leadership, integrity and a strong sense of civic responsibility.
“Accra Academy continues to adapt and devour as its students receive the best possible learning and the school's commitment to excellence remains unwavered as it continues to be a place where dreams are nurtured and ambitions are fostered,” he said.
Mr Fiemawhle expressed gratitude to the school management, parents and various stakeholders for their unflinching support towards the running of the school and guiding and supporting students.
“Your unwavering commitment to education and the school has cut and shaped the brilliant minds you see before us to this day.
Your encouragement, guidance and sacrifices have made a significant impact on the success of this school,” he added.
Speech and prize-giving
The 92nd anniversary Speech and Prize-giving Day, organised by the 1992 year group of the school, was on the theme: “Developing and maintaining sustainable school infrastructure for impactful education: A shared responsibility”.
The event brought together both present and old students of the school who relived their old school memories while celebrating 92 years of thriving existence.
The occasion was also used to inaugurate and hand over the Visual Arts Block, which was refurbished at the cost of GH¢800,000 by the 1992 year group.
Students who stood out and performed excellently throughout the academic year were also rewarded.