UGANDA: Church rejects sexuality education in their schools

The Church has opposed the implementation of sexuality education in their schools unless the current content is changed to meet the required values.

Both the Catholic Church and Church of Uganda (CoU) leaderships are opposed to the introduction of sexuality education in schools in its current form.

They cite the age at which sexuality education will be introduced to children. They say introducing sexuality education to three-year-old children as proposed in the government policy is not right.

The Church questions how implementation and monitoring of the content will be done.
Rev Canon William Ongeng, the CoU provincial secretary, said a joint meeting of the Catholic Church and CoU leaders had been scheduled last week to discuss the matter with the Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, but did not take place for some undisclosed reason.

“The implementation part of the policy is causing problems and the age at which it is being introduced is worrying. What [sexuality] can you discuss with a child of three years? What do you tell them about sexuality?” Rev Ongeng asked during an interview yesterday.

His counterparts at the Catholic Church shared the same position, insisting that the content in its current form will not be allowed unless it meets their Christian standards.

Father Ronald Okello, the executive secretary for education at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat, yesterday said the sexuality education policy, launched in May, has loopholes that must be corrected before it is taught in schools.

“The content is not age appropriate. Unless these things are worked on, they will not be taught in the Catholic- founded schools,” Fr Okello said.

Last month, the plenary of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops issued a statement, saying while they appreciate a positive, age appropriate, culturally and religious sex education which upholds moral and Christian values, their input was ignored in the final sexuality education document.

“In the final and published edition of the document, the contributions of the Catholic experts have been substantially ignored. As it stands now, the National Sexuality Education Framework, though containing some valid ideas and guidelines, fails to answer some crucial questions,” the statement reads in part.

The Catholic clerics point out that the role of the family was not considered especially in the early ages while children in preprimary (three to five years) and those in lower primary will be exposed to content and life skills which are not appropriate for their age.

The Church also indicated that the information and the life skills foreseen for the higher levels are open to interpretation and practices which might be manipulated.

“Should the National Sexuality Education Framework remain unchanged, with provisions and directives contrary to our Christian values, the common position of the Catholic Church, shared by our brothers of the Church of Uganda and the Orthodox Church, is that we shall not be able in conscience to have it introduced and taught in our Christian-founded schools,” Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal conference, signed off the statement.

Mr Ismail Mulindwa, the Ministry of Education commissioner-in-charge of private schools and sexuality education coordinator, said they have not allowed any partner to implement the policy because they have not developed the curriculum.

Mr Mulindwa said the ministry’s consultant is yet to complete his document on the implementation plan which will guide what content will be generated for each age group.

“We launched the framework. We wrote a circular to schools to halt any activity concerning sexuality education until the implementation plan is out. It will have all stakeholders’ input. We have not come up with the messages which are age appropriate. People should not get worried now. It is going to be integrated in the curriculum and if it is a standalone, that is when it can worry,” he said.

 

monitor.co.ug

Rihanna tweets at world leaders, seeks $3.1b to fund education

In a bid to raise $3.1 billion to fund education for children in the world’s poorest countries, celebrated pop star has been tweeting at leaders of Western powers including the United kIngdom, France and Australia, asking them to pledge support.

Rihanna is attending an international education summit in Dakar, Senegal.

Over the past few years, the “Wild Thoughts” singer has been working with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through her Clara Lionel Foundation to fund education for girls in Africa, the Caribbean, and America.

The GPE Financing Conference is co-hosted by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Senegalese president Macky Sall.

There had been media reports that religious groups in Senegal accused Rihanna of being a member of the infamous Illuminati and was therefore unwelcome in the country.

 

Africanews

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Gov’t to appoint another Director-General of Education

Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo has hinted of a major government policy in restructuring the education sector that will see the appointment of another Director General of Education who will be in charge of Technical and Vocational Training.

According to him, the creation of the new portfolio which will be independent of the existing headship of the Ghana Education Service (GES) will prioritize vocation training in the country.

Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo was speaking at the 60th anniversary celebration of the St. Paul’s Technical School at Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region.

“We have Director General of Ghana Education Service, as we speak there’s one and he’s the overall boss of Ghana Education Service. We want to have two divisions within Ghana Education Service, Director-General TVET services and then Director-General Ghana Education Service. We’re going to get two Director-Generals, one specifically for TVET services and one for normal education services. All matters related to technical education will be handled under the purview of the Director-General TVET services and all matters related to normal education…grammer education as it is now will be done under the purview of Director-General Ghana Education Service, so there’s a distinction. The two will work to their tertiary ends.”

He further said government intends to assemble all scattered TVET institutions under the supervision of the Education Ministry for effective monitoring.

 

 

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KUMACA Swine Flu: All 40 students discharged from hospital

Some students of Kumasi Academy

All students of the Kumasi Academy Senior High School who were infected with the dreaded H1N1 influenza, have been discharged from the hospitals, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu announced Friday.
This was after they successfully completed the 3-dose Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic medication administered to them at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where they were admitted.
Health officials have so far confirmed the 11 deaths reported between April and December with four of the deaths occurring just within the past week, at the time the school was preparing to climax its 60th-anniversary celebrations.
The celebrations, nonetheless, were carried through without the school authorities making the deaths public, according to reports.

The Ministry on Thursday announced the students who died over the last few days died of Influenza Type A, popularly referred to as Swine Flu.
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who announced this at a news conference, said 12 out of the 19 cases sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute tested positive for the virus.
An assuring Kwaku Agyemang Manu, speaking Friday on Joy FM, told Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson that: “All the kids that were admitted, the 40 people, have all been discharged [and are] in their homes and I think we are comfortable.”
The Minister said health officials have also mapped out several activities including “following up to visit them; we have a bigger medical team now that is doing this work so we are not just keeping our fingers crossed.”

His major concern now is to trace the students who have been taken home by their parents out of panic, and he has, therefore, directed health officials close to the school’s immediate community to visit their homes and “try to look at what [the situation] is.”
“We announced that anybody who begins to get the symptoms…should report immediately to the nearest health centre or facility and let us see what it is that we have such that we don’t get anybody spreading the disease again,” he said.
Despite that challenge, the Health Minister said some of the students who went back home have started returning to the school to take the medication and they hope to keep them in the school for a couple of weeks before they are formally released to their parents.
“…and we are trying to look at containing them for about two weeks before we allow them to go home officially.”

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com

We forced gov’t to back down on mobile money tax – Minority

NDC Member of Parliament for Bia East, Richard Acheampong says the Minority’s last minute intervention forced government to withdraw its decision to tax the mobile money sector.

According to him, his side must be commended for ramping up pressure that caused government to back down on the move.

The NDC Minority in Parliament had alleged that the Akufo-Addo government was planning to tax the thriving mobile money business, according to the 2018 Budget statement, a move it described as “retrogressive”.

“The intention to tax mobile money transaction must be abolished immediately since it constitutes a serious threat to financial inclusion and economic growth in Ghana,” Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Minority spokesperson on finance said on Monday, during a roundtable breakfast discussion ahead of the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy.

However, there were no such signals as alleged by the minority per the full account of the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

But the Bia East legislator told host Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM Thursday their intervention paid off which saw government withdraw the decision to tax mobile money transactions.

Ghanaians should commend the minority on the roundtable discussion we did ahead of the 2018 Budget. It will be recalled that we said three key things about the Budget. We mention this decision to tax the mobile money transaction. When we gave the signals then they quickly went to take out that portion from the Budget. So if you critically look at the Budget, you will see a lot of inconsistencies on the arrangement. it is as if they rushed through it”

 

 

 

Family Health University committed to modern learning methods – Prof. Kwawukume

The Founder and President of Family Health University College, Prof. Yao Kwawukume, has stated that the institution remains committed in keeping abreast with modern methods of teaching and learning.

He said the school is one of the few Medical Schools in the Sub-region that uses real Cadavers (human parts) to study Anatomy, and also has the modern state of the art Anatomage (incorporating the latest convertible technology) to enhance the learning capacity of their students.

“We make sure you are introduced to the hospital wards from the first year of your training and get to use real Cadavers to study Anatomy” he noted.

Prof. Kwawukume made this known when gave the welcome address at the 3rd Matriculation Ceremony of Family Health University College Medical School, Ghana’s premier private medical school at Teshie, opposite the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra.

He told the new entrants to remember the words of Albert Einstein, a great philosopher who stated that “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

Prof. Kwawukume further tasked the students to study hard and be innovative.

“We are here to give you the fundamentals with which to build the future of modern medicine. The sky is no more the limit, explore and create the future of medicine with excellence and distinction. Do not forget to be caring towards the society you seek to heal and offer comfort from their ailments.”

The vision of the Medical School he hinted, is to take medical education to a new level not only for Ghana and West Africa, but Africa and beyond.

He assured parents that, their effort in seeking the best for their children would not be in vain due to the kind of lecturers and modern facilities at the disposal of the school.

The Guest speaker, Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, Managing Director of Tropical Cables and Conductors Ltd, appealed to government to have a strong regulatory framework for quality management of private schools, and ensure a minimum amount of reinvestment for expansion and infrastructure improvement.

He reminded government to deliver on the promise to remove 25% corporate tax on private tertiary institutions.

“I strongly urge Government to follow through this policy” he noted.

He said private institutions should not be a taxable opportunity in a nation that is unable to provide enough places for qualified applicants. He encouraged the students to learn and relearn new things if they want to stay relevant and be worthy health workers.

Dr. Oteng-Gyasi reminded the students that human life is not a negotiable commodity.

“You are training to be either a good doctor or a bad doctor. There is no middle ground. You cannot be a good doctor when the money is not adequate.”

He commended Prof. Kwawukume and his wife, Dr. Susan Bridget Kwawukume (co-Founder/Chief Medical Director of Family Health Hospital) for their effort to help build Ghana as far as the transformation of education and health sectors are concerned.

Family Health University College comprises a Hospital, Nursing and Midwifery School and a Medical School.

It is Ghana’s premier private medical school with modern facilities, spacious laboratories and lecture halls.

Family Health Medical School is affiliated to the University of Ghana and accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

The School offers a six-year Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medicine (MB ChB) programmes.

At the end of the first three years, the student obtains a Bachelor of Science Degree and thereafter the MB ChB Degree which qualifies one as a Medical Doctor.

Students entering the school this year comprise those from Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, the United States of America, Britain and Canada.

READ MORE: Mahama must learn to consult elders of NDC – Chairman

Agogo youth upset as DCE stalls construction of school

A group in the Ashanti Region, calling itself the Agogo Youth Association, has petitioned the Agogo Traditional Council to call the  Asante Akyem North District Chief Executive, Francis Oti Boateng, to order, over his refusal to sanction the construction of some classroom units in the area.

According to the group, contracts for the construction of two school buildings were awarded to a construction firm, KB2 Company Limited, by the District’s Entity Tender Committee.

However, the new DCE has refused to sign off on the contracts after he alleged that the former MP for the area, Kojo Baah Agyemang, had lobbied for the contracts for his own company.

Speaking to Citi News, the Secretary of the group, Alfred Gyimah, said the situation is negatively affecting education in the area.

“The contract has been awarded to KB2 Company to build a six-unit classroom which is located at Agogo Presbyterian Training College and another three-unit classroom has been awarded to the same company at St Augustine’s school at Agogo. But Francis Oti Boateng has refused to sign the contract. I approached him with other colleagues to find out the reason why he is refusing to sign the contracts and he said the former MP, Kojo Baah Agyemang was the one who lobbied for the contract and according to him the contract was awarded to the former MP’s company so he won’t sign it,” he said.

He added that they will call on the Traditional Council to intervene in the situation for work to commence on the projects.

“We decided to petition the traditional council so that they could come in and speak to the DCE for him to sign the contract. We hope the traditional council can call the DCE to order and advise him so that he will give out the letter to the company for them to begin work at the site.”

Prof. Bill Puplampu inducted Vice-Chancellor of Central University

Prof. Bill Buenar Puplampu, has been inducted into office as the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Central University (CU).

He becomes the fourth Chief Executive Officer and 2nd Vice Chancellor of the University since its establishment 19 years ago.

He takes over from Prof. Kwesi Yankah who resigned his position to take up appointment as Minister of State in Charge of Tertiary Education.

Until his appointment, Prof. Puplampu was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Central University.

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Rev. Dr. Mensa Otabil, Chancellor of the University who chaired the induction, charged the new Vice Chancellor to pursue and champion the Christian agenda and inculcate ethical values into products of the University, whilst working at making Central University a citadel of knowledge and development in a society which increasingly commodifies knowledge.

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“As you assume the reigns of leadership, we believe that you will champion the distinctly Christian agenda and nature of this institution, an experiment we have been working at but not fully achieved as yet. We hope that you will try to answer the difficult but critical questions of how we can become and remain a Christian University,” he said.

The Chancellor further advised the new Vice-Chancellor to uphold the academic integrity of the University.

“As you continue with your work, remember that the knowledge creating function of the University must not be pursued to the detriment of other priorities, and that balance and sagacity are critical for the success of the academic enterprise like our own,” he noted.

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Dr. Mensa Otabil also paid glowing tributes to the pioneering leaders of the University for their devotion and selfless service.

“Slowly but surely, we are establishing a tradition of continuity and order as we work to become a world class institution of learning with great culture”, he said, adding that “Central University has been greatly blessed over the years in the sense that God has sovereignly orchestrated the appointment of the right leader at each of the University’s various stages of growth”.

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The induction, held at the Miotso campus of the University was attended by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, some current and former Vice-Chancellors of Universities in Ghana, and the Presbytery of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC). Hundreds of students and well wishers were also present at the campus to witness the occasion.

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Handing over the baton of office to the new VC, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kwesi Yankah, expressed his commitment to support the University at all times.

He was grateful to the University Council, staff and students for the opportunity to serve as Vice-Chancellor.

“Central University introduced me to private sector and faith based University administration. CU opened up to me the opportunities that currently drive my professional life and I am grateful” he said.

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Prof. Bill Puplampu in his induction bemoaned the near absence of policy direction regarding the development of appropriate human capital, and higher education needs of the country going into the future.

“Ghana seems to have moved through a variety of reforms, experiments and explosion in a deregulated educational space” he stated, adding that “we have a situation where we are over producing certain types of skills (leading to unemployment of graduates) and grossly under producing others.

“It is perhaps an indictment of our educational policy”, he indicated, and stressed that any higher education reform, regulatory realignments, and accreditation options must be a deliberate intervention in a futuristic direction for our Human capital agenda.”

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The new Vice-Chancellor also queried the basis of the accreditation of the over 50 private universities; each of which was doing the same set of programmes and also the basis for accrediting foreign universities to also offer similar programs in an already overstretched environment.

Prof. Puplampu also proposed the setting up of one regulatory body to carry out accreditation and also act as a degree awarding body for all universities yet to be chartered.

“This will ensure an open equal environment for all the institutions under development, and do away with a mentor institution forcing its systems and practices on the new universities. It would also ensure a level playing field, ensure comparability of degrees awarded, and facilitate the uniform development of all such institutions, he stated.

On the entry of foreign universities operating in the country, Prof. Puplampu queried the basis for their accreditation, and proposed that their accreditation must demonstrate clear linkage to Ghana’s Human Capital agenda, and not their strategic expansion needs.

Prof. Puplampu also stated that, his vision is to make the Central University the preferred destination for under and post graduate studies in the private higher education space, and also demonstrate the values of a truly Christian University with enabling environment for nurturing ethical students.

He was hopeful that the university under his tenure will become financially stable with an internationalized standard research, scholarship and advocacy footprint.

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Prof Puplampu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Ghana, MSc in Occupational Psychology from the Polytechnic of East London.

He also obtained his PhD in Organisational Behaviour from the University of East London in the United Kingdom.

Prof Puplampu is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society with specialization in Occupational and Organisational Psychology.

Headmaster calls for restoration of 4-year SHS duration

The Assistant Headmaster in charge of academics at Kings College Kumasi, Mr. Emmanuel Odum has called on the government and Minister of Education to restore the four-year Senior High School system to promote effective teaching and learning in schools.

According Mr. Odum, the current three-year system being run in the various Senior High Schools in the country is inadequate to ensure students complete the entire syllabus and sufficiently prepare them for their West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exams.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under President John Kufour introduced the 4-year Senior High school programme in 2007. However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) reverted to the three-year system after it regained power in 2009.

But Emmanuel Odum believes the four-year Senior High School system if restored would help students prepare amply and also get better grades in their final examination.

He tells Abusua News Osei Kwadwo: “If government extends the 3-year program to 4 years it will improve students’ academic performance because teachers will have enough time to teach them and also get good grades when they write the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exams”.

He continued, that, “the current 3-year system is totally affecting the student’s academic performance. Government should extend the 3-year programe to 4 years to improve quality education”.

Ghana among top education spenders in Africa

With an allocation of over 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Ghana’s spending on education is among the highest in Africa, a World Bank report indicates.

This is above the global average of 5 percent expected of every country – although it is behind Swaziland, which has the highest education spending at 9 percent of GDP in Africa.

Malawi and Niger also spend about 7 percent of their GDP on the education sector, while Senegal and Mozambique spend 7.5 and 6.5 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s spending on education is expected to increase as Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has given indication that government will increase, by GH1 billion, spending on education in the 2018 budget to boost implementation of the free Senior High School policy.

The Ministry of Education’s total budget, including the GETFUND, saw an increase of 20.7 percent in 2017 – from GHȻ 7.55 billion in 2016 to GHȻ 9.12billion.

In spite of the relatively high levels of investment in the country’s education sector, experts argue that the sector is not living up to expectations as standards are deemed to have fallen to an all-time low. Spending on the sector, as happens in other sectors, has been found to be largely for recurrent payments in wages and salaries, among others, instead of for investment in infrastructure, teaching and learning aids.

The state of education in the country, educationists argue, will restrict its ability to transform the economy from middle-income with HIPC infrastructure, low total factor productivity and weak systems, to the status of a developed economy.

Already, employers complain about the poor quality of graduates at all levels of education – with some decidedly giving preference to Ghanaians who have schooled abroad.

The World Bank report, dubbed ‘Facing Forward: Schooling with Learning in Africa’, asked the Ghanaian government to invest in quality pre-primary education, which is critical to developing non-cognitive foundational skills.

It said early childhood education can interrupt the low skills equilibrium; improving schooling, jobs, and even earnings.

“Align curricula, teacher training, materials and assessments around the goal of foundational skills for all,” it said.

It also points at the need to recognise inequality in learning opportunities, saying disadvantaged children attend schools that are also disadvantaged.

“Our policies need to help level the playing field and address particular challenges to learning for these children.”

Education, it goes on to say, does not currently build literacy effectively. Students, it said, can go through school without learning basic foundational skills in reading, math, and science.

For this reason, the report urged government to improve teacher management and support.

‘Learning crisis’ in global education

The report warns that millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life, because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

The report said schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

It further argues that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all.

“Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math. This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life-skills.” – B&FT