Election 2020: NDC, NPP Manifestos On Education Compared

The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has said the policies on education in the manifestos of the two major political parties show that while one is progressive, the other deliberately goes the extra mile to make a strong impression.

IFEST believes that while the policy proposals on education for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as contained in the party’s 2020 manifesto seeks to build on existing roadmaps progressively, the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) pushes even further.

Acting Executive Director of IFEST, Peter Anti, told GhanaWeb that while both manifestos seem eager to cure an existing problem in the education front, there remain key areas of concern.

“For us, the NPP manifesto is more progressive. It is progressive because it seeks to promote education technology…it promotes inclusive education. The NDC also talked about inclusive education, but the emphasis on special and inclusive education for the NPP is more elaborate than the NDC,” Mr Anti said.

According to Mr Anti, the NPP’s focus on inclusive education is consistent with modern trends worldwide, where there is a push for every individual, irrespective of where they find themselves, to access education.

“Then for the NDC manifesto, they seem to now also come out with new ideas; and they have pushed a little further than the NPP. For example for the students’ loan, you see that they [NDC] are all talking about scrapping the guarantor system.

"Each of them is saying the same thing, but the NDC goes a step further to say, ‘we will increase the amount given to the students’” Mr Peter Anti told GhanaWeb.

Peter Anti is Ag Executive Director of IFEST

He adds that the NDC’s promise to ensure early disbursement of the loans is an example the opposition party's strategy of going a step further in its attempt to prove that it has better ideas to govern.

“In terms of legal education, the NPP is saying they will expand Makola [the Ghana School of Law] so that they will be able to accommodate a lot of people.

"The NDC says, let’s now try to decentralise the system so that other institutions will also be able to train their own lawyers and then go and write the [bar] exams,” he said.

He said while the expansion of the Ghana School Law will do well to admit more students, the central call from persons calling for reforms in Ghana's legal education is consistent with the NDC’s proposal.

“In terms of the free SHS [Senior High School], the NPP said that we will consolidate…the NDC says that we will try to make it better. So you will notice that one seems to have an extra leg or extra step against the other.

“This may be so because maybe one of them has the luxury of pumping out additional policies than the other because the other thinks that ‘I am already doing it and I don’t need to add additional policies’” Mr Anti surmised.

The IFEST Acting Executive Director, however, criticised the NDC’s proposal to scrap the Teacher Licensure Examinations and the Double Track System.

According to Peter Anti, the licensure exams are a good way to standardise the teaching profession and ensure that very competent teachers find their way into the classrooms.

He also said NDC’s intention to scrap the Double Track System could disrupt the free SHS because students will be denied access to education.

According to him, while the NDC’s promise to complete E-blocks abandoned by the NPP will facilitate the abolishment of the double track, the NDC, if it wins on December 7, 2020, will not be able to complete these school buildings within a year of coming into office.