By: Yaw Opoku Mensah
Ghana’s reimagining of the education system for economic transformation has been reassuring with the pragmatic reforms and policies that have been introduced as such.
The latest approach in this regard is the inclusion of “learning about social security in school curricula to make students well-informed about the importance of the scheme.
Prior to the drafting of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766), which was fully implemented in 2010, the idea and recommendation to the Ministry of Education to collaborate with the relevant stakeholders to include social security in the student’s curriculum was already established. All that was needed was its materialization, but that could not happen in the long run.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) launched the additional Readers on Social Security for Schools. In this connection, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) has prepared teacher guides on social security for students and teachers in youth and senior high schools.
Social security is a government measure or insurance program to provide income protection to its members in the event of certain events such as old age, disability, illness or the death of a breadwinner. It is without a doubt the most important social policy achievement of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the improvement and expansion of the program has and will remain a major challenge in the coming decades.
As defined by the International Social Security Association as a mandatory scheme that provides individuals with a degree of income security when faced with certain incidents, it somehow inadvertently becomes a basic requirement for any citizen. However, the legislative disposition of the policy has its special conditions and exclusivity with a focus on the public / formal sector of the workforce.
With a careful analysis, it can emerge that the need to expand and intensify the understanding of the scheme has become indispensable. However, citizens who will be admitted to the formal sector will undoubtedly be enrolled in this scheme, but it goes against the clear purpose of the scheme, which is for all citizens.
Statistics published by statista.com on the distribution of employment in Ghana in 2019 show that 29.75% of Ghanaian employees were active in the agricultural sector, 21.05% in industry and 49.21% in the service sector. Ghana has a total population of over 30 million according to the 2020 census, with the workforce estimated at around 13,364,617 by the World Bank. A dizzying revelation is that the informal sector, which does not fully involve people in the scheme, contributes “80%” of the Ghanaian workforce.
At the very least, given the country’s industrialization efforts in terms of education reforms that pretend to enable young people to be innovative and self-reliant in the labor market, it should be wise to imprint social security appearances in their education plans. ensure full participation of the informal sector. With the report from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust Fund, most of its members are from the formal / public sector with regard to Tier 3 of the scheme. The law, which mandates the informal / private sector to actively ensure that its members are rolled into the scheme, is less recognized. Apart from that, the people who are in the sector have less knowledge about why they should be members of the scheme and therefore give no confidence in it.
It has become a bit of a challenge for the scheme and the government as such. The fundamental right of any citizen who must have a secondary education (Free SHS) states that the Ghanaian people can be well informed about the importance of social security even before they are fully enrolled in any sector. If the justified age starts from 15 years, which the individual according to our education system should have the basic educational knowledge, even if he / she in an unfortunate situation fails to continue, the individual should have a certain level of knowledge about social security. time to enable him to appreciate it, as he might end up in the informal sector.
Similarly, individuals who can successfully complete the levels of education face even the vulnerability of job security in the public sector. And with the ministry’s STEM education agenda, more graduates are even more likely to work in the private sector than in the public sector. And with the private sector, if one does not fully understand the need for social security, it will be very difficult for the person to consider being a member in that regard. It can not be argued that even with those in the public sector who are automatically recognized as members without having any choice, most of them have little idea why they are members of the Social Security and National Trust Fund (SSNIT ).
In this regard, it can be said that the basic understanding of social security at a young age eludes, which in some way contributes to the low level of members affiliated with the SSNIT policy. Records say that out of over 11 million fully eligible individuals, just over 2 million are members of SSNIT, leaving a huge gap to be filled.
In general, it is very important to learn about social security for all and most importantly for young people. This will inform them about the value of saving and planning for the future. It will make them realize that social security is more than retirement or an old age program.
If that is the case, then the idea of the government developing a pedagogical technique to give citizens conscientiously in the first age becomes a compelling duty to perform. The inclusion of social security in the curriculum for students at the basic and secondary level stands out as a crucial way to ensure the full participation of people in the scheme. It is easy for one to appreciate something if he has a reasonable idea of the thing.
……… ..The author is a deputy to the Ministry of Education (Yaw Opoku Mensah)