Minister Hot Over US$2.5m World Bank Cash

The World Bank has asked the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, to account for an amount of US$2.5 million, which was disbursed to build a Ghana Knowledge and Skills Bank, as part of a broader strategy to build resilience in the country’s education sector, post COVID-19.

The funds, which were released to the Ministry of Education after it achieved Disbursement Linked Result (DLR) 7.4, is yet to be used for its intended purpose.

Based on this, the World Bank has repeatedly written to the Ministry of Education to provide information on it, but the ministry has been unable to respond. This is in addition to an alleged fabrication of a report to claim US$1.2 million for teacher training from the World Bank, a case that is hanging on the neck of the minister like the Sword of Damocles.

Attempts to speak to the minister through the PRO were unsuccessful except for a message that said “Sorry I can’t talk now” after each call.

The achievement of DLR 7.4 caused the release of US$4 million to the Ministry of Education. Some of the activities which the money was supposed to be used for but which have allegedly been misapplied and cannot be accounted for include the Development of the Ghana Knowledge and Skills Bank; the establishment of an online and offline (toll-free help desk) for teacher and student remote assistance; and aligning policy reforms around technology use in schools to facilitate teaching and learning.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), in its 2020 Manifesto, indicated the foregoing as a campaign promise, but the minister, 19 months into the second term of the administration, has made little effort to achieve the campaign promise.

The Ghana Knowledge and Skills Bank, mirrored around the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, if developed, is expected to be the single largest digital library repository for Ghanaian educators and learners from kindergarten to the tertiary level.

“The Ghana National Knowledge and Skills Bank would enable the curation of all education content linked to the new curriculum (including E-Textbooks, interactive lessons, video lessons and audio content). It would further allow for the aggregation of third-party education content through the Ghana Library Authority and provide curated and approved audio content accessible through toll-free calls and USSD short codes playback.

National and school biodata would be strengthened to link them to the LMS and the Ghana National Knowledge and Skills Bank. This sub-component would also support capacity building for the Center for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS) and GhLA to adapt, curate and develop learning content and teacher training materials.

The document went further to state that: “The Knowledge and Skills platform will be funded in phases over a period of 24 to 36 months,” adding the GPE COVID-19 contribution will be for the initial set-up and to acquire about 30% of the curated content from third party content developers.

It added that, “The Ministry of Education (MOE), Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), and National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) are also working to digitise the national curriculum, which will also be hosted in the Knowledge Bank.”

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