The recent revelation that the Ministry of Education in Ghana spent GH₵2 million on a Covid-19 Tracker App that was never used is deeply concerning. According to the investigative news platform, The Fourth Estate, the app was intended to track Covid-19 cases in junior and senior high schools across the country. However, the Auditor-General’s report on the country’s expenditure on Covid-19 has revealed that the app was never deployed or utilized in any capacity. This raises serious questions about the management of funds and the effectiveness of government initiatives.
The app, developed under the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP), aimed to improve the quality of education in low-performing basic education schools and strengthen accountability in the education sector. The funding for GALOP came from various sources including the World Bank, the Department For International Development (DFID), and the Global Partnerships for Education (GPE). However, the app’s development and subsequent non-usage show a clear mismanagement of funds and the failure to effectively coordinate between multiple stakeholders.
The audit report by the Ghana Audit Service in June 2022 revealed that the Covid-19 Tracker App, along with other IT infrastructure procured under GALOP, was left idle and unused. This wastage of government resources is a significant concern, especially during these challenging times when funds should be allocated wisely to address pressing needs. The lack of collaboration and coordination between the procuring authorities and the implementing institution was a high point as a contributing factor to this wasteful outcome.
Attempts to seek answers from the Ministry of Education regarding the development of this redundant app have been met with silence and refusal. Requests for information through the Right to Information (RTI) Commission have also been disregarded, leading to a GH₵50,000 administrative penalty being imposed on the ministry. This blatant disregard for transparency and accountability further erodes public trust in the ministry and raises questions about the motives behind its actions.
The ministry’s failure to respond to requests for information is deeply disappointing and indicative of a lack of commitment to transparency and accountability. The mandated role of the ministry is to ensure the effective use of resources and the provision of quality education. By squandering such a significant amount on a redundant app, the ministry has not only failed in its duty but has also displayed a disregard for fiscal responsibility and the public interest. Urgent measures need to be taken to ensure that public funds are utilized effectively and transparently for the betterment of education in Ghana.