The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in partner with the Ghana Education Service (GES), have developed supplementary readers for schools to sensitise and educate the next generation on relevance of social security with intention to expand pensions coverage.
The SSNIT is optimistic that the initiative, which seeks to introduce Junior High Schools (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) students to the basic principles of social security, will develop their interest and inculcate financial discipline in them. This it believes will drive their desire to sign up for the pension scheme when they start working, and this will naturally expand coverage.
Currently, out of the 11 million working population in Ghana, only 1.7million are registered members of the scheme and contributing SSNIT. Additionally, the 227,000 beneficiaries currently on the monthly payroll of SSNIT could have been more, if only more workers had contributed to SSNIT during their active work period, having in mind that majority of this number are even within the lower earnings range.
Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, in his address at the inaugural event indicated that the initiative will enlighten the students to have better knowledge in securing their future financially, and in turn educate their parents on the need to contribute to the pension scheme.
Adding to that, he expressed believe that if the earlier generations had the opportunity of being introduced to the benefits of a structured social security scheme, many people would have understood the importance of pensions; and the membership of the national basic social security scheme would have been more than the current 1.7 million.
“I believe you are very lucky to have this subject – the social security – introduced to you through your school curriculum at this early stage of your lives to offer you a roadmap and a preview into your work journey and equip you with the right tools to plan ahead,” he said.
Deputy Minister for Education – John Ntim Fordjour, stated that the project is also meant to raise young learners as ambassadors, who appreciate the essence of SSNIT contribution for a secured and comfortable future.
“As financial literacy is a key element in our standard-based and common core curricula, we hope to raise the nearly 10 million learners in pre-tertiary schools, with knowledge and values that are aligned to the key priorities of national development,” he said.
He further commended the team of writers and publishers who worked on the project for painstakingly breaking down the Pensions Act 2014 as amended (Act 883), into simple concepts for the understanding of all.
Taking his turn, the Director of National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) – Prof. Edward Appiah, explained that the supplementary readers on social security had been infused into subjects like Mathematics, Social Studies, Our World and Our People, and Religious and Moral Education.
He mentioned that work on the project started in 2006, and had gone through series of consultations. Already, copies of the supplementary readers have been distributed through the 16 regional education offices across the country.