It has emerged that the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, presented a made-up report supposedly, to convince the World Bank for the release of US$1.2million meant to execute the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) 7.2b, a project he and the Ministry never executed, The Chronicle newspaper has uncovered.
The made-up report was prepared through the Head, M&E Unit of the Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation (PBME) Division of the Ministry of Education, Bernard Ayensu.
It had the subject matter ‘Ministry of Education, PBME Division, VERIFICATION OF PBC 7.2B’. In the said report, Mr. Ayensu, told the World that the PBME had undertaken verification of GALOP PBC 7.2B, especially, the number of teachers trained in using distance learning methods, and highlighted some general findings.
“On behalf of the Chief Director, I submit official notification of Government’s achievement of PBC 7.2B under the GPE COVID-19 Accelerated Funding. Also attached is the verification report on the achievement of the PBC”, noted Mr. Ayensu in his email dated Wednesday, December 1, 2021, accompanying the attached report to the World Bank.
Key among the findings was the confirmation of the development of an online learning portal by the Ministry of Education for the conduct of teacher training in integrated digital literacy. The platform, it noted, was hosted on https://katon.katechnologiesgh.com.
The PBME also confirmed the development of Digital Literacy Training Modules which had been uploaded on the platform and covers Computer Basic, Word Processing (MS Word), Spreadsheet (MS Excel), Presentation (MS POWER POINT 201.6), and Basic Internet Tutorial. These modules are completely different from what the Program had outlined for execution.
In addition to that, the PBME told the World Bank that a total of 41,860 teachers from 685 schools across all the 260 districts of Ghana signed up for the training program which had both offline (via a desktop application) and online (via web application) options.
The training program, the PBME further noted, was offered in three modules namely: Recorded Online Training; Physical Training; and Online/Virtual Live Training.
It also confirmed verifying the number of teachers training in integrated digital literacy.
“PBME employed a 2-stage verification strategy for PBC 7.2A. The first stage involved the generation of an automated report on teachers that have done at least one module of the integrated digital literacy course. As of November 30, 2021, there were 40,057 teachers that had completed at least one module of the integrated digital literacy course. From the automated report, 40,057 teachers have completed at least one module. This exceeds the target of 40,000 teachers to be trained. PBC 7.2B has been achieved”, the made-up report prepared by the PBME in part read.
This fictitious report was prepared by the PBME under the explicit instructions of Dr. Adutwum when he realized that the deadline of the GALOP program which was November 30, 2021, was fast approaching.
Persons familiar with the program say the report was developed out from work done by the NTC under the Commonwealth of Learning as evidence for COVID-19 Digital Literacy training.
In June 2020, President Akufo-Addo launched the single largest investment in Basic Education in the history of Ghana, a World Bank-funded and managed project, the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP). It comprises funding from the following development partners:
· International Development Association (IDA) Credit US$150m
· Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Grant US$23.9
· Global Partnership for Education (GPE) COVID-19 Grant US$14.8m
· Global Partnership for Result-Based Approaches (GPRBA) TF (EOF) US25.5m
· Government of Ghana (GoG) (EOF) US$4.5m
The US$218.7million World Bank project is being implemented by the Ministry of Education through its agencies.
The project has an original financing component (Part 1-4) and an Additional Financing (AF) component, the GPE COVID-19 Accelerated Grant for supporting COVID-19 Coordinated Education Response Plan for Ghana for Continued Learning, Recovery, and Resilience in Basic Education (Part 5). This Part 5 made available to the Ministry of Education, a US$14.8 million grant from the GPE.
Funding is based on Performance-Based Conditions (PBCs) which were formerly known as Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs) which allow disbursement of funds when certain agreed activities are achieved under the project. Part 5 of the project closed on November 30, 2021, at which point all PBCs were expected to have been achieved.
Pert the dictates of the PBC in the GALOP AF PAD, the integrated digital literacy course will be delivered through an online portal and will cover distance learning courses which include in-service teacher training which will be supported to improve teacher capacity in digital literacy and the delivery of lessons through innovative platforms. This will incorporate training of the facilitation of remote and distance learning; online and innovative tools including Zoom and WhatsApp applications, SMS, television and radio; use of smart devices in online learning platforms; remote student assessment; and the LMS and Knowledge and Skills Bank.
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh’s era
On the face of available records to The Chronicle, execution of the GALOP program commenced under Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh who was then the Minister of Education. During his tenure, the Ministry of Education through its agencies was very successful in the development and launch of the nationwide Learning Management Systems (LMS) to support distance learning for all learners from Kindergarten to Senior High School.
The Ministry of Education was also successful in the coordinated plan to reopen schools including nationwide back-to-school campaigns, and the development of Television and Radio lessons to support learning at home.
All these, The Chronicles investigations revealed, spurred the release of US$9.2million from the GPE COVID-19 Grant to support the Ministry of Education to undertake other activities under the project.
In December 2020, a company by the name TANIT, was approved by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to design, develop and deploy a training platform with content to train a minimum of 40,000 teachers as part of a critical PBC which was to release US$1.2million.
The contract award coincided with the transition period following the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Therefore, the execution of the project had to be put on hold upon a directive from the Chief of Staff until a substantive Minister was appointed to the Ministry of Education.
Appointment of Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum
When Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, who was then a deputy Minister of Education was subsequently appointed the substantive Minister of Education in March 2021, he, unfortunately, delayed the process related to the training for almost five months.
On July 26, 2021, Dr. Adutwum and the Ministry of Education, finally signed a contract with the PPA-approved company but changed the scope of the project to only include the development of the platform and not the training. This means that the development of content to train the targeted 40,000 teachers was excluded from the contract, raising eyebrows as to which other firm Dr. Adutwum will engage to execute this exercise.
The process, The Chronicle again uncovered, was further delayed, including a delay in the payment of Phase I of work done despite the availability of funds from the US$9.2million that had earlier on been released by the World Bank for the implementation of the project.
As the deadline of November 30, 2021, for the completion of GALOP nears, Dr. Adutwum then directed the Head, M&E Unit of the Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation (PBME) Division of the Ministry of Education to ‘make-up’ a report on the achievement of GALOP – P165557 PBC 7.2B.
The Minister also instructed the then Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Benjamin Gyasi, to sign a letter to the World Bank with reference Number FA44/491/01 and subject matter ‘GHANA ACCOUNTABILITY FOR LEARNING OUTCOMES PROJECT (GALOP – P165557) ADDITIONAL FINANCING (AF) – GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION (GPE) COVID-19 ACCELERATED FUNDING (TF OB3009): ACHIEVEMENT OF PBC 7.2B’.
The directive was heeded to by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Education and accordingly wrote the letter dated November 30, 2021, and addressed to the Task Team Leaders, GALOP, The World Bank, with the heading ‘Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP –P165557) Additional Financing (AF) – Global Partnerships for Education (GPE) COVID-19 Accelerated Funding (TF 0B3009): Achievement of PBC 7.2B.
Attached to the letter was also the ‘Verification of the Performance Based Conditions (PBC) 7.2B’ report that was prepared by the PBME.
The letter in part read “The Ministry of Education has developed literacy modules and trained 40,057 teachers from 685 schools across all the 260 districts in Ghana. Training is offered via online, physical, and video modes. Resources are available to facilitate all three modes of training which allow for ongoing teacher training for digital literacy and professional development. In addition, digital literacy training modules have been developed and uploaded on the teacher training portal. With these deliverables, PBC 7.2B has been achieved”.
It added, “Kindly consider this letter as formal submission of evidence of achievement of PBC 7.2B under GALOP AF – GPE COVID-19 Accelerated Funding”.
The content of the attached report, serving as evidence of work for the COVID-19 Digital Literacy training by the Ministry, The Chronicle can authoritatively report, was generated out of the work done by the NTC under the Commonwealth of Learning. That means there is no evidence of work done under GALOP by the Ministry of Education and Dr. Yaw Adutwum.
The World Bank upon receipt of the documents, submitted same to its project development partners to verify. This process was part of the agreed verification protocol for the PBC before the Bank could release the US$1.2million to the Ministry of Education.
World Bank probe for more answers
Having received the PBME report and letter from the Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, the World Bank appeared not convinced and so began to interrogate the matter further in a bid to get convincing answers.
The Chief of Education at UNICEF Ghana Country Office serving as Chair of the Development Partners, Tara E. O’Connell, sent an email to the Principal Planning Officer of the PBME Division of the Ministry of Education on or about January 7, 2022, seeking among other things an explanation and other documentary evidence of the training done for the 40,057 teachers that the Ministry of Education indicated in the November 30, 2021 report. The email asked the Ministry of Education to provide responses not later than January 14, 2021, to enable the development partners also complete its verification exercise and submit a report to the World Bank.
For instance, the Chair of the Development Partners asked the PBME Division of the Ministry of Education to explain the difference in the course content since the courses “do not seem to be the same as the training content set out under 5.1.”
The Chair of the Development Partners also asked the Ministry of Education to share the slides for the training courses, as well as examples of the self-assessments teachers were expected to do to enable them to have an understanding of the actual content.
The Chair also inquired from the Ministry of Education whether they have any qualitative feedback from teachers who did the training that can give them a better understanding of whether they feel their distance learning skills have improved and to share the same.
Madam O’Connell also asked the Ministry of Education to clarify whether the portal is linked or if there is a plan to link to student performance to demonstrate the impact/results of the teacher digital literacy portal at classroom-level and to facilitate targeted adaptation of teaching for improved learning outcomes.
“Can you kindly revert with responses to the above early the week of Jan 10 so we can complete the verification exercise by Friday, Jan 14”, the email by the Chair of the Development Partners to the PBME Division in part read.
It took the Ministry of Education ten (10) weeks to respond to the request made by the Chair of the Development Partners of the World Bank GALOP 7.2B program.
Ministry of Education approaches GES, GLA, and NTC
It was during this period, the Ministry of Education on February 28, 2022, wrote to the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Library Authority (GLA), and the National Teaching Council (NTC) to nominate technical persons to report to the Ministry to serve as members of the Implementation Committee to certify reports submitted by TANIT Limited.
The letter with the subject matter: ‘Composition of Project Implementation Committee’ in part read “In line with the above, the Ministry is setting up an Implementation Committee to vet all invoices and certify the Consultant’s reports for payment. The Committee would be required to provide a report to the Ministry certifying completion of the project and recommendation for payment”.
It added, “You are hereby kindly requested to nominate a technical person from your institution to report to the Ministry latest by Wednesday 2nd March 2022 to serve as a member of the Implementation Committee to certify the reports submitted by the Consultant for the design, development & deployment of Digital Teacher Training Content and Platform under GALOP COVID-19 Interventions”.
On Thursday, March 24, 2022, Madam Tara O’Connell, reported to the World Bank-funded GALOP GPE COVID-19 AF PBC 7.2B development partners via email that the Ministry of Education had responded to their request.
The said email which The Chronicle sighted during its investigations into the matter saw the PBME respond to the queries made by the Chair of the development partners.
Ministry of Education responds to Word Bank’s queries
For instance, on the issue of difference in the course content, the Ministry of Education said “As outlined in the verification report, the Ministry first had to provide the basic digital training that enables all teachers to interact with digital devices. The suite of courses on the platform: Computer Basics, Word Processing (MS Word), Spreadsheet (MS Excel), Presentation (MS PowerPoint), and Basic Internet Tutorial enables all beneficiary teachers to access digital platforms and digital content. The finding necessitated the decision to provide basic computing skills that will enable all teachers to access digital platforms as a critical first step in the agenda to provide digital skills to teachers”.
According to the Ministry of Education “subsequent to the first set of training, teachers are undertaking additional digital literacy training. They have accessed both the Kanton Platforms and the National Teachers Council teacher training portal. Additional courses on the platform include online learning and its use, understanding learners, and digital instruction. Based on the digital skills areas outlined in the project paper and the Teachers’ digital skills needs analysis conducted, additional courses will be uploaded in order to continuously enhance teachers’ skills in digital literacy and promote distance learning and assessment. It is important to place on record that the COVID-19 Accelerated Response Activity within the context of the constraints MoE was expected to implement. First, the Government had to implement the activity in 15 months. Within the period, the Ministry had to procure Service Providers to develop the portal for teacher training, develop a suite of courses on digital literacy, upload the courses on the platform, and train teachers”.
“In addition to other activities under the COVID-19 Accelerated Response component, the Government had to undertake Teachers’ Digital Skills Needs Analysis, engage service providers and stakeholders to develop course content, and engage experts to review content before finalization. These were very lengthy process, however, MoE had to go through stages to ensure (i) courses and its sequencing addressed the skills needs of teachers, (ii) course content was of high quality, (iii) the training is delivered effectively”.
It added “Delivering the teacher training platform, developing course content on digital courses based on findings from Digital Skills Needs Analysis, uploading the courses on the platform and training 40,000 teachers on the basic digital skills is considered significant progress within the constraints of MoE had to implement the component. Upload of additional courses is an indication of MoE commitment to ensure all teachers have the skills to provide distance learning”.
On the request for the Ministry of Education to share the slides of the training courses, as well as examples of the self-assessments teachers, were expected to do, the Ministry answered that it had attached the assessment results and the course content to the email it sent.
With regards to the Ministry of Education having any qualitative feedback from teachers who did the training to enable the World Bank to have a better understanding of whether they feel their distance learning skills have improved, the Ministry of Education said that has not been completed.
“Within the PBME role under GALOP, a firm will be commissioned to undertake an independent assessment of training undertaken under GALOP. This will include digital literacy training. The objective is to assess the effectiveness of the training and inform MoE decision on capacity building of Staff”, the MoE response in part read.
On the request for the MoE to clarify whether the portal is linked to student performance to demonstrate the impact/results of the teacher digital literacy portal at classroom-level and to facilitate targeted adaptation of teaching for improved learning outcomes, the MoE said “The portal will be linked to other platforms. Currently, teachers on the platform are able to access content on the NTC platform. MoE plan is to link it to other platforms with the system. Teachers who complete the courses on the platform earn CPD points from NTC”.
Word Bank writes to GES for more answers
During the ten weeks period of silence from the Ministry of Education, the World Bank in mid-March 2022, the World Bank worried about the situation, especially, being mindful of the deadline for the disbursement of the funds, and also not having heard from the Ministry of Education for so long a time, wrote to the Ghana Education Service (GES) as the agency responsible for carrying out the training, to request for information to help complete the verification process.
“We are waiting to receive your feedback on the achievement of PBC 7.2B. Thank you very much”, an email sent by Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank, Yoko Nagashima addressed to the deputy Director-General of GES, Dr. Kwabena Tandoh and copied the Director-General of the Ghana Education Services, Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, read.
It must be stated that the Ghana Education Service (GES) per the dictates of the program, should have been the lead implementing agency of the training program and not the Ministry of Education itself.
The Director-General of the GES, at this point, unsure of the kind of information the World Bank needed, asked for documentation to enable it to understand the issues better and to have a clearer picture of the request made by the Bretton Wood institution to trigger an appropriate response.
On March 29, 2022, a Senior Education Specialist and Task Team Leader at the World Bank sent an email attached with documents to inform the GES that the Ministry of Education had earlier on November 30, 2021, submitted documentation for the achievement of GALOP BPC 7.2B.
It was at this point that the Ghana Education Service had a full briefing on the activities that had been executed by the Ministry of Education.
Having secured the full briefing of the Project’s program of activities, Prof. Opoku Amankwa, on March 30, 2022, then formally wrote to the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, with the subject matter: Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) Verification of PBC 7.2B, informing him that the GES is unaware of any training that had taken place, thereby, making it very difficult for the Service to make an appropriate response to the World Bank’s request for verification.
Prof. Opoku Amankwa at this point was seeking the Minister’s advice and direction to enable him to respond to the request made by the World Bank.
However, Dr. Adutwum, ignored Prof. Opoku Amankwa’s letter, knowing very well that his made-up report had long been accepted by the World Bank.
Prof. Opoku Amankwa having waited for seven (7) weeks with no response from Dr. Adutwum, then proceeded to respond to the request made by the World Bank, a response which has since exposed the Dr. Yaw Adutwum and the Ministry of Education.
On Thursday, May 19, 2021, Prof. Opoku Amankwa wrote to the World Bank, informing the Bank and its development partners that the Ghana Education Service was unaware of any such training relating to the PBC 7.2B.
His letter addressed to Yoko Nagashima with the subject matter ‘RE: Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) Additional Financing (AF) COVID-19 Accelerated Response Grant – Confirmation Letter on the achievement of PBC 7.2B dated Nov. 30, 2021’ read: “Dear All, I make reference to the email sent to Dr. KB Tandoh, my DDG quality and access on Mon. 28 March, 2022, and copied to me. As the lead for GES, on the GALOP, I requested Dr. Tandoh to brief me on the training relating to PBC 7.2B. I wanted to be certain if PBC 7.2B is indeed a GES Activity and whether GES has carried out such an activity? From my DDG’s briefing, it was evident that the PBC 7.2B is a GES activity. However, there was no evidence that it had been performed as of 30 November 2021. Subsequently, I wrote to the Hon. Minister for Education through the Ag. Chief Director on March 30, 2022, indicating that GES is unaware of the training and asked for the Minister and the Ministry’s directions to respond to World Bank queries. I wish to indicate to you that we have not received any response yet. Per the information available to GES, we cannot confirm that PBC 7.2B has been carried out. Thank you. DG”.
During the investigations, it was uncovered that KA Technologies has no contract or agreement with the Ministry of Education or the Ghana Education Service to undertake any GALOP or COVID-19 related training. TANIT Limited has a legitimate contract with the Ministry of Education as a Consultant to Design, Develop and Deploy Digital Teacher Training Content and Platform under GALOP COVID-19 Interventions.
Minority NDC Factor
In May 2022, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum was accused by the Minority NDC group in Parliament for refusing to avail himself for accountability under the GALOP COVID-19 intervention program.
The group accused him of squandering US$1.2million secured from the World Bank to train teachers at the basic school lever under the GALOP 7.2B.
However, Dr. Adutwum denied the claims and told journalists at a news conference in Accra that “The good news is that the money is sitting in the account as we speak”. “The money was not meant for any training. The training was to be supported by us and once we can show that we have skin in the game and that we are committed to the transformation of education under GALOP, then they will release the money and that is what they have done”, he explained.
He added “There is nothing wrong here because the World Bank has approved our funding. So, nothing can be far away from the truth that I will superintend a project that is not going to benefit Ghanaians. It will never be true, I will never do that. I didn’t come to this country to do that. I came to help and ensure that the President’s mission for the transformation of education in the country is accomplished. You work so hard and others who don’t care will do anything to dent your image”.
His comment was immediately followed by the release of a press statement by the Ministry of Education also denying that the World Bank has written to the Ghana Education Service (GES) or any other Agency of the Ministry to confirm the achievement of results of GALOP 7.2B.