The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES), has organized an education forum in the Akwapem North District of Akropong in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The purpose of the forum was to bring together, key stakeholders and partners in the education space to share highlights of progress of project activities and to discuss how the gains can be sustained.
JICA is implementing the project: “Improving Learning Outcomes through Community Participation for Sustainable School for All”, (COMPASS), to improve learning outcomes in education through community participation. The main objective of this project is to revitalize the School Management Committees (SMCs) through two means; reconstitute the SMCs through democratic elections or the balloting process with community involvement and strengthen the capacity of these SMCs to serve as an effective monitoring and accountability system at the school level.
Activities undertaken during the education forum included a school visitation to the Methodist Basic School, Aboasa -Akropong to observe Mathematics Remedial lessons, an interaction with the School Management Committee and a workshop session to discuss observations made and the way forward.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Devine Ayigbor, the Deputy Director-General of the GES in charge of Quality and Access, Dr. Kwabena Tandoh, Regional Directors of Education from the Oti, Volta and Eastern Regions of Ghana, development partners from the UNICEF, USAID, UNESCO, Plan International, staff from the District Education offices, officials from JICA Ghana Office and the COMPASS Project team, attended the Forum.
The overall goal of the project is to improve learning outcome in schools through a well-developed learning-oriented School-Performance Improvement Plans (Quo-SPIP) and an improved information sharing and effective community participation in school management.
The COMPASS model is built on the premise that, school-level accountability is paramount in improving learning environment in schools and consequently a positive catalytic effect on the learning outcomes of pupils. It aims to strengthen School Management Committees to enable them to contribute their quota in improving learning outcomes in schools.
The COMPASS model of a well-functioning SMC relies strongly on community participation within the School-Based Management Concept. In particular, the model emphasizes the inter-connected principles of participation, democracy, inclusivity and transparency in decision-making at the school management level. The model proposes the role designations of Chairperson, Vice-chairperson, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer/Auditor and Organizer, amongst the SMC and the democratic elections of SMC members to these positions by community members. The designations are created to clarify the responsibilities of each member and for members to be more engaged at their roles. This approach re-enforces the values of accountability, self-determination, financial self-sufficiency and promotion of quality outcomes.
Another key component of the COMPASS project is the introduction of mathematics workbooks to pupils through after-school remedial activities. The aim is to improve the learning of mathematics in schools.
The COMPASS, is a 4-year project, which began in January 2020 and is currently being implemented directly in the Eastern, Volta and Oti Regions of Ghana. It is estimated to target about 3,397 Basic Schools, with over 5,000,000 primary and Junior High pupils. Through the collaboration with the World Bank-funded GALOP Project, the Model is being extended nationwide targeting over 10,000 low-performing schools.