I write in response to media reports stating that the Government has no role in the operation of boarding schools.
The government policy on education is derived from the White Paper on Education (1992).
Chapter three of the White Paper, stipulates that, â€œThe Government will vigorously de-emphasise boarding education as a means of cutting down on the cost of education, and, therefore, providing education opportunities to as many citizens as possible at the various levels of both formal and non-formal education sectors.â€
It adds, in Chapter four, that, â€œ...all new government-aided primary schools should be only day schools; and, where boarding facilities are provided, these should be funded entirely by parents or beneficiaries.â€
The Government remits capitation grants to boarding schools and supervises them.
But does the Minister of Education and Permanent Secretary have powers to reprimand or discipline errant or non-performing officers?
Primary education is a decentralised service and under the jurisdiction of the local governments.
The accounting officers for local governments are not the Permanent Secretaries but the chief administrative officers (CAOs).
Thus, education officers and staff of the education departments report to the CAOs. Resources from the Government for the delivery of primary education are remitted by the Ministry of Finance directly to the local governments for disbursement by CAOs.
Similarly, head teachers and teachers of public primary schools are appointed by the District Service Commissions (DSCs), deployed by the districts and, where necessary, are disciplined or sanctioned by the DSCs on recommendation of the CAO. The Ministry of Education retains an oversight responsibility on matters of the education sector.
But where a matter is connected to a decentralised service like primary education, the ministry solicits the intervention of the local government either through the CAO but often through and or with the knowledge of the local government ministry.
The writer is the public relations officer in the Ministry of Education