Government White Paper On Commission of Enquiry

Government has released a White Paper on the report of a Commission of Enquiry into matters relating to the participation of the Black Stars in the 2014 World Cup Tournament in Brazil.

Attorney General & Minister for Justice, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, told the Flagstaff House Press Corps on Thursday that Government accepted most of the recommendations of the Commission.

“Where Government has not accepted the Commission’s recommendations, this has been stated and the reasons for the non-acceptance given. Where Government has accepted the recommendations in modified form, this has also been stated and the reasons for the modification given.”

The next step after the issuance of the White Paper, she noted, is the implementation of the recommendations, which have been accepted, as well as those accepted with modifications.

According to Mrs. Appiah-Oppong, Government has accepted the recommendation of the Commission to assign implementation responsibilities in relation to payment of penalties, return of state property and surcharging of certain named personalities for losses caused, to the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department.

Government also accepts the recommendation of the Commission that supporters must seek their own sponsorship to participate in tournaments and the state should, as a matter of policy, not directly employ public or state funds to airlift, accommodate and feed supporters.

Government accepts the recommendation that the activities of Fan Parks as produced and managed by E-volution International should be further investigated and any net income accruing from the execution of the Fan Parks should be paid to the state with interest at the prevailing bank rate.

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Finance Ministry Directs the Suspension of Salaries

The Ministry of Finance says it has authorized the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) to suspend the salaries of employees who do not have social security numbers from the June, 2015 payroll. “In line with this decision, the Ministry of Finance has authorized the CAGD to suspend the salaries of all employees who have still not provided their social security numbers by 12th June, 2015,” a statement signed by Major (RTD.) M. S. Tara, Chief Director of the Ministry said. The statement said the salaries of the affected employees can only be restored after thorough investigations are conducted. It advised employees to submit the social security information to their respective Personnel Processing Sections (PPSs) before the deadline of 12th June, 2015 to avoid the deletion of their names from the payroll. It would be recalled that the CAGD issued press statements on 6th January, 2015 and a reminder on 19th February, 2015, requesting employees to provide their social security information for their records to be updated on the mechanized payroll system. The release further indicated that, the salaries of employees who do not provide their social security numbers by the end of March, 2015 would be suspended permanently. However, the deadline for the submission of the information has been extended several times. Reports from the CAGD indicate that some employees have submitted their social security information and their records were updated on the mechanized payroll. However, some employees have still not submitted the social security details for their records to be updated. For more information on the total number of employees without the social security numbers, heads of MDAs/MMDAs and employees may call on telephone number 0302-678801 or visit the CAGD website on http://www.cagd.gov.gh

Courtesy: graphic.com.gh

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103 Year Old Woman Gets High School Diploma

A 103-year-old American woman has proved you are never too old to graduate from high school.

Marie Hunt from Spring Green, Wisc., recently earned her high school diploma 87 years after she was originally supposed to graduate.

Ms Hunt received an honorary degree from River Valley High School at a ceremony at her assisted living home last Friday.

Hunt would have graduated with the class of 1,928, but she had to drop out of school after the eighth grade, as she had no way to get to and from high school.

“It’s something I always wanted, and I didn’t have the opportunity to go. And now, a hundred years later, here I am,” Marie Hunt, speaking to ABC’s WKOW on her graduation day.

Instead of going to school, Hunt spent her days taking care of her eight younger brothers and sisters. When she said that she always regretted not graduating, her hospice nurse contacted the local high school to see if they could help Ms Hunt reach the important milestone.

Friends, family, and fellow residents at her assisted living centre gathered to watch Hunt walk in her black cap and gown as the traditional graduation song ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ played. She has yet to indicate whether she would go on to pursue tertiary education, but says she thinks she would have been a good “college material.

Courtesy: dailyguideghana.com

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THE VISIONARY BILL GATES: THE ROAD AHEAD FOR QUALITY EDUCATION DELIVERY

Bill Gates has written two books, both of which are listed in the “#1 New York Times Bestseller” class. In the foreword to the first one, “The Road Ahead” (1995), he wrote that from his sophomore year at Harvard University, he believed that personal computers would change the world, though he didn’t know exactly how that would happen.

At the time, nobody paid any attention to the computing revolution that was about to happen; and even then, historically speaking, there were always the pessimists – so cast in their own cynicism and limitations – ever ready to mock bold revolutionary predictions as silly thoughts.

In that vein, Gates cited an “Oxford professor who in 1878 dismissed the electric light as a gimmick.” Another professor “speculated in 1942 that the only way an airplane could break the sound barrier were if its wings flapped after it had been catapulted into the air.” In that regard, it’s so important to identify which type of people should teach and who must not; which people to connect with in sharing and discussing bold visions or initiatives, and who to avoid.

In claiming that he was not an educator but an enthusiastic learner (in a chapter titled: “Education: The Best Investment”), he said, “Information technology will empower people of all ages, both inside and outside the classroom, to learn more easily, enjoyably and successfully than ever before.”

In managing information to support thinking, technology aligns superbly with the mission of educational institutions. He knew firsthand how learning was enhanced when the right tools were available, and how frustrating it was when the lack of good tools and information wasted the potential of students everywhere.

In examining the critical benefits, he said new technologies would enable people to work from home and at hours more suitable for them; they would relieve pressures on natural resources because many products would take the form of bits rather than manufactured goods; they would help tailor people’s experiences and products to their interests.

In his second book, “Business @ The Speed Of Thought” (1999), he quoted Reed Hundt, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, who said, “Our national commitment to connect every classroom in every school in the country to the Internet will be the greatest advance in quality and equality of education in this century.”

Gates observed that “students who regularly use laptops gain many skills. They write more often and better; have improved research and analytical skills; express themselves more creatively; work more independently and also more collaboratively; more frequently rely on active learning and study strategies; readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking, and adopt higher-order thinking skills.”

The Internet has changed the learning experience from the traditional approach with the teacher glued to the front of the class lecturing away at a captured disinterested audience, to a more purposeful approach that entices and draws in the natural curiosities of students of all ages.

Today, technology is, invariably, at one’s disposal and helps one to acquire knowledge at great speeds. In teaching and learning, schools need to do what the Microsoft mavericks used to do to adequately respond to human curiosities, and that is to “read, ask questions, explore, go to lectures, compare our notes and findings with each other, consult experts, daydream, brainstorm, formulate and test hypotheses, build models and simulations, communicate what we are learning, and practice new skills.”

In an earlier column, “The wastelands in our tertiary education landscape: How technology can help,” I suggested that for a modern system, a website was necessary for every course taught from the tertiary curriculum. The site must contain the course outlines, the course materials, the online citations and links. Additionally, the lectures need to be uploaded at the sites for students’ easy access, any time, any day, and anywhere. Without such modern tools and abilities, the status quo makes mockery of the money and time spent hoping for quality education to happen all by itself.

I remember in my undergraduate years in the U.S. (in the early 1970s) the difficulties and long hours working with analogue systems with Cobol and Fortran programme, and the frustrating diagnostic errors that spewed punch cards from the large mainstay computers. It was quite an eye opener – when on returning for a graduate program in the same university (in the early 1980s) – how personal computers had made learning so much quicker and easier. But the bigger observation was the instructors and lecturers of the obsolete system who had been induced to upgrade their skills, and to learn the new technologies that had been introduced by the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

It is disheartening indeed that even today, after all those years of technological innovations and improvements, some university teachers in Ghana still resort to the talking, dictation and copying methods that have long been functionally obsolete. It is now not a matter of preparing for a digital era; that future is already here; and as Jack Welch, a former CEO of General Electric, observed, “Any time there is change, there is opportunity. So it is paramount that an organisation get energised rather than paralysed.”

In a constantly changing competitive world, technological skills prepare the youth with the ability to adapt, and adapt fast. But the instructors themselves must step up to the plate, and not place a passive burden on the youth in their care.

[Email: anishaffar@gmail.com]

Courtesy: graphic.com.gh

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DIDIER DROGBA SENDS 5000 CHILDREN BACK TO SCHOOL

Didier Drogba has aided 5000 poverty-stricken children in the Ivory Coast to return to school ahead of the new academic year.

The Ivory Coast international and Chelsea player continues his charitable deeds in his home country after presenting kits including textbooks, bags, writing materials, mathematical sets, water bottles and other toiletries.

The former Galatasaray player currently plays for English Premier League side Chelsea where he led the attacking line on Sunday in the top game against Manchester United.
Courtesy: graphiconline.com

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GES TO SANCTION HEADS OF SHS

The acting director general of Ghana Education Service Mr. Jacob M.A Kor has hinted that heads of shs who are found charging unauthorised fees would be sanctioned.
He said such heads of SHSs would be sanctioned depending on the gravity of the offence.
He said the impression was that heads flagrantly flouted directives of the acting Director General because they have “island onto themselves”

The affected headmasters were either collecting unapproved fees and or were compelling parents to pay both the second and third terms fees in the second term before the students were allowed to attend classes
 

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Students Boycot Programme

Students from the seven colleges of education in the Ashanti Region yesterday boycotted the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah, and his entourage at a programme at the Wesley College of Education in Kumasi meant to bring governance to the doorstep of students.
No comments

When contacted to react to the students’ action, Mr Ablakwah declined to comment.

“For now I don’t have anything to say but will soon come out with a statement,” he said.
Campus Connect

The programme, dubbed: ‘Campus Connect’, is an initiative of the Ministry of Education to bring governance to the doorstep of students and create an avenue for the students to air their concerns over mainly educational policies and their impact on students.

It was a sequel to one that had taken place at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) the previous night.
Colleges

In attendance were students from the Wesley, Mampong Technical, St Louis, St Monica’s, Agogo Presbyterian Women’s, Offinso and Akrokerri colleges of education.
Boycott

The students, who had already planned to boycott the programme, attended in their numbers, filled the conference hall of the Wesley College of Education and comported themselves, until it was time for the deputy minister to brief them on the rationale for the programme.

As if they were standing up to welcome him, the students got up and started walking out, amid singing.

The students claimed they had written petitions and sent letters to the ministry concerning their grievances and that the ministry had not found it expedient to react to any of their concerns but found time to come and address them.

According to them, until the sector minister responded to their petitions, they were not prepared to listen to anybody from the ministry.

They initially walked out of the hall to stand outside but were compelled to return to the hall to carry on the demonstration there when it dawned on them that the organisers were going ahead with the programme with the few students who had returned to the hall.

That was after some of the principals of the colleges had threatened the students with sanctions to compel some of them back to the hall, mainly female students.

In their numbers, the students marched back into the hall, amidst the singing of ‘jama’ songs, and threatened to splash water on the students who were still in the hall if they did not vacate the place.

True to their word, they started throwing sachets of water through the main entrance and windows at the female students in the hall, making them run for cover.

As all that was going on, the dignitaries, including all the principals of the colleges of education in the region, the Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr Felix Ofosu Kwakye; Mr Kobby Acheampong, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA); Mr Johnny Osei Kofi, a Deputy Chief of Staff, and Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte, the acting Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, looked on helplessly.

Unable to contain the disruptions, the organisers had no option but to call off the programme.
Boos and jeers

As the dignitaries walked to their vehicles, the students jeered and booed at them.

The Secretary of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Wesley College of Education, Mr Obeng Agyenim Boateng, told the Daily Graphic that their main concern was the restoration of the teacher trainee allowance and a clarification on their fate after school.

He said following the changing of the status of the colleges of education to tertiary institutions, the minister had informed them that they would no longer be automatically employed after school but would have to look for employment like all graduates of tertiary institutions.

That, according to him, defeated the purpose of establishing the colleges of education and wanted the minister to address all those problems.

writer’s email:kwadwo.donkor@graphic.com.gh
Courtesy: Daily Graphic

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