Public-Private Partnership – A New Approach to Education in Ghana
On Tuesday, 18 October 2011 an innovative Education Stakeholders Meeting took place in Accra, Ghana. IDP Foundation, Inc., UK Department for International Development, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization sponsored this timely meeting to bring together government officials, development partners, NGOs and other key stakeholders in education. The attendees focused the discussion on the state of this sector in Ghana and highlighted opportunities for improving education access and quality through an engaged and effective public-private partnership.The day-long event commenced with a keynote address delivered by the Honourable Deputy Minister for Pre-Tertiary, Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh, on behalf of the Honourable Deputy Minister of Tertiary, Mahama Ayariga. The address highlighted that while Ghana has improved access to education, the growing private sector is helping to fill the gaps. In calling attention to the 15,000 private schools in Ghana in 2009, roughly 6,000 of which were low-cost private schools, the Honourable Deputy Minister underscored the importance of developing public-private partnerships in order to achieve Ghana’s Education for All goals, the Millennium Development Goals and to increase the quality of education in Ghana.
With many participants surprised by the number and indeed existence of low-cost private schools serving Ghana’s children, notable leaders in the education field took the stage to continue the conversation and address the current state of public-private partnerships and the role of technology in promoting effective teaching and learning. The comments of such international educational experts as Rachel Hinton (DFID), Stephen Adu (GES), Tirso Dos Santos (UNESCO), Seth Odame Baiden (GESDI), Irene Pritzker (IDPF), Ruby Sandhu-Rojon (UNDP), and Dr. Josiah Cobbah (GIMPA) led participants into dynamic discussions among their working groups about the role of public-private partnerships in education and opportunities for collaboration to serve Ghana’s education needs.
The day culminated with the showcasing of each working group’s recommendations. While the recommendations were varied, one common theme emerged that a public-private partnership is essential to provide all children in Ghana with a quality education, and that the Education Stakeholders Meeting was the first step in realizing such a partnership. Stakeholders now need to seize this momentum and develop an action plan to transform the idea of a public-private partnership into a reality by establishing a body to implement this.