Dr Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of National Unity of Malawi, has lauded Ghana’s National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), describing it as the best civic education institution on the continent.
Dr Chindebvu gave the commendation when she led a four-member delegation to interact with officials of the NCCE, in Accra, on Wednesday.
The meeting formed part of a three-day working visit by the delegation to Ghana, as it studied the country’s progress and achievements in civic education.
Dr Chindebvu was accompanied by Mr Dalitso Chikwembani, Director of Civic Education, and Ms Evelyn Sumani, Principal Civic Education Officer, both from the Department of Civic Education, and Mr Derex Souza, Programme Officer, the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust.
She said the NCCE was the most relevant institution when it came to civic education in Africa.
“We take this institution as the best in Africa in terms of civic education. When we started looking around as to where to go, in Africa, the only one that we found relevant is the NCCE in Ghana,” she said.
Explaining the delegation’s mission, Dr Chindebvu said as part of service reforms in the public sector of Malawi, the Ministry was in the process of lobbying the government to transform the NICE Trust into a National Commission for Civic Education.
As a result, it was only right that the Ministry understudied other countries on the continent, that had successfully implemented such a policy, to learn their best practices, she said.
Dr Chindebvu said with Ghana’s decades of experience in active civic engagement, the Government of Malawi believed that its civic education structure was the best on the continent and worthy of emulation.
Areas the delegation seeks to understudy include the establishment process and legal framework of the NCCE, core functions, mandate, vision and mission, delivery methods and approaches.
She expressed the hope that the study would help the Ministry in the transformation of the NICE Trust into a commission.
Ms Kathleen Addy, the Acting Chairperson of the NCCE, said the Commission was one of three unique commissions set up under the 1992 Constitution, the others being the Electoral Commission and Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and to some extent, the National Media Commission.
“These three commissions are unique in the sense that they are independent, meaning that they don’t take instructions or directives from the Executive,” she said.
“We the NCCE report to Parliament, and not the Executive. We are funded by the public purse but our reporting line is to Parliament, that is, the representatives of the people.”
Ms Addy emphasised the need for a down-to-top approach to policy formulation, saying the effectiveness of every civic education policy depended largely on its acceptance by the grassroots.
Mr Samuel Asare Akuamoah, the NCCE Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations, said despite the successes the Commission had chalked since its establishment, it remained bedevilled with numerous challenges.
These include inadequate funding, its overlapping public mandate, and the Executive’s continuous appointment of chairpersons.
Mr Akuamoah, therefore, advised the Malawians to be wary of political interferences in the work of the would-be commission as that would undermine its authority and make it lose relevance.
Mr Kojo Tito Voegborlo, the NCCE Secretary, encouraged the Malawians to prioritise collaboration between the commission and relevant stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, religious bodies, and student leadership groups to ensure effective civic work delivery.
Malawi becomes the second country in Africa to understudy Ghana’s civic education structure, after The Gambia in 2019.