Allegation against NAPO for blowing GH¢1.3m to train 13 people at MIT is mischief

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Ras Mubarak
Ras Mubarak

It has emerged that the decision by Ghana to participate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) leadership course last year was sanctioned by the Presidency and not the Minister of Education as alleged by the Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Mr Ras Mubarak.

It has also emerged that the Minister of Education, who was supposed to be at the opening ceremony of the programme was nowhere near the MIT during the period of the opening ceremony as alleged.

Sources at the National Service Secretariat (NSS) have hinted that, indeed, the Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh was not the one who facilitated the trip as Ras Mubarak made journalist to believe last week Friday, when he spoke to journalists after Parliament’s sitting.

Last Friday, the MP for Kumbungu, Mr Ras Mubarak accused the Education Minister, Dr Prempeh of blowing GH₵1.3 million of state funds on what in his view, was a needless programme outside Ghana.

According to him, the amount could have been used for something beneficial in the country, but was rather spent on a needless education programme at the MIT to train 13 people.

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The programme, involves a series of workshop sessions geared towards exploring solutions towards reducing youth unemployment.

Speaking to journalists after parliament’s sitting on Friday, March 1, 2018, Mr. Mubarak, indicated that the amount for the entire duration of the programme as explained by Dr Prempeh in Parliament, did not meet value-for-money standards “because GIMPA organises similar programmes in leadership and governance here in Accra and instead [the minister is] spending more to register 13 people to go to the United States of America for three days”.

But responding, a source at the NSS said Mr Mubarak was only attempting to score personal points against the Minister of Education as he did not personally sanction the participation.

According to the source, although, the minister was to be part of the trip, he never attended any of the event outlined for the training programme.

At the time it was reported in sections of the media that Dr. Prempeh, was part of the programme and was in the USA, he was actually in Ghana, the source said.

The MIT Regional Entrepreneur Acceleration Progromme (REAP) is not a 6-day programme but rather, a two-year initiative to revamp related youth initiatives in Ghana to reduce unemployment in the youth population groups - and deliver better outcomes for graduates from Ghana’s educational institutions.

In the estimation of Mr Mubarak, the workshop aspects of the programme were all that the all-important programme was about but that was not the case, the source said.

The Ghana National Service Secretariat (NSS), other Youth Programmes, representatives from private sector, and some universities kicked off the two-year initiative, with a workshop, with three more working Workshops scheduled within the two-year period, where the leadership of Ghana’s youth programmes will collaborate with the MIT Martin Trust Center of Entrepreneurship and learn from a few targeted countries, such as Scotland, that have been successful architecting entrepreneurship solutions for their youth.

The structure of the REAP programme in addition to tapping into the MIT’s world-renowned capabilities leverages learnings from other regions of the world including Australia, Russia, Scotland, King Abdullah Economic City, and Ecuador.

It is the first time the collective leadership of Ghana’s youth programs is tapping into best practices in entrepreneurship and working with an outfit that is known for helping create incredibly large number of young entrepreneurs behind some of today’s best global companies. In the end, our youth programs will become part of a Global Innovation Network that will open up enormous opportunities for our youth.

Over the years the National Service has had the mandate of providing qualified graduates with practical work experience and offer skilled resource to certain qualifying communities and social programs to support development across Ghana. A myriad of challenges presents themselves today including, the need to improve employability of youth graduates and spur increased growth in entrepreneurship. Other youth agencies expected to benefit from this change initiative include National Youth Authority (NYA), Youth Employment Agency (YEA), National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (NEIP), National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Small Loans and Micro-finance Centre (MASLOC) and the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI).

The MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program provides opportunities for communities around the world to engage with MIT in an evidence-based, practical approach to strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial (IDE) ecosystems.

The MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) has helped many countries like Mexico, Spain, Singapore, Japan, Morocco, Ireland, etc. improve the local environment that fosters innovation-driven enterprises by leveraging each region's unique comparative advantage. This is done by MIT faculty working with key regional stakeholders to understand its history, the key drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the opportunities to build unique comparative advantages.