Even though she is yet to settle finally into her new office, Education Minister, Betty Mould Iddrisu is upbeat about her new assignment. Mrs. Mould Iddrisu has been in office at the Education Ministry close to a month after a presidential reshuffle saw her moved from the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice office. Speaking extensively on her new post with Emefa Apawu, host of the Big Bite on Xfm 95.1, a privately owned commercial radio station in Accra, Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, who is also passionate about education issues apart from legal matters, considering her legal background, is hopeful that her tenure would see a reduction, if not an eradication of strike actions which are synonymous with the Education Ministry. Since her inception into office, Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu revealed that she has met some unions under her jurisdiction, to know their priorities. This she says, will enable her to know firsthand what their grievances have been and how to “innovatively” solve them, not necessarily putting money in their pockets. “I have a deep concern for the condition of teachers at all levels, and I also have an acute sense of the problem which ordinary people are going through in this country; while undertaking a very difficult job, especially, those who are teaching in the more deprived areas of Ghana.” “So I think that I should be able to listen to their concern. I am not saying that I will be able to put money in their pocket, but we should be innovative. There are innovative ways which have been used in other countries to address concerns of teachers”. “I have already met several of the unions and they were extremely pleased that I made meeting and getting to know them one of my priorities. There are many unions, but I have told them that I would try and meet at least two of them every week, so that I will get to know them and their concerns”. The Education Ministry is one of the few “uncomfortable” Ministries in the country but this is not unknown to the accomplished lawyer and versatile scholar. Spelling out a plethora of challenges and difficulties that await her, Mrs Mould says she is bringing on board “not only a certain amount of capacity of understanding negotiation and understanding empathy for problem of education, but also obviously, being a woman, I am a bit more sympathetic, maybe than the men”. She says, “the problems are many; in a ministry which has the largest budget of government, you can imagine the multiplicity of problems that await me. We have 255,000 teachers on our payroll. Paying them as a government is extremely challenging, that I think is one of the major concern.” “Then there is the infrastructure development which my predecessor started; there are a significant number of developments taking place all over the country. There is so much more to be done in respect of the monitoring, evaluation and supervision of the ongoing projects”. “There is a whole plethora of issues which I have to discuss with the Minister of Finance in terms of ensuring the government commitment to the capitation grant, the school feeding program, the provision of free school uniforms, text books, etc. I also have to look at the GETFUND, and manage what resources are going to be allocated to it”, Mrs Mould says, and adds; “there is so much to do”. After all these have been done however, Betty Mould Iddrisu is hopeful that she would be remembered as one Minister who judiciously used resources allocated to her Ministry “to develop educational infrastructure, content and quality in the country”; and as one who “managed those resources to achieve an optimum significant increase in uplifting educational standards in Ghana”.
Source: Abena Asiedua Tenkorang/Xfm 95.1/Accra/Ghana