Jul 22, 2009

STABILIZE OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM



The educational system in Ghana has suffered extensively in the hands of our politicians for the past few decades since the country gained its independence in 1957. For some time now, the system has gone through thorough reforms.

Juxtaposing this with the clause from the Holy Bible,”since the days of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the educational system suffereth reforms and the reformers shall take it by force”. According to Eyiah, Joe Kingsley, (2004-03-27), though a new education committee under Professor Kwapong was appointed immediately after the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah to fix the weakness in Ghana's education, at the close of the 1970s, Ghana’s education could only be described as decayed and needed organic rejuvenation. The decay was a result of political instability with its resulting poor management, corruption, and general macroeconomic turmoil. Following this to the time of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from 1979 – 2000, the then government led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, also set up a committee to review the system. He also succeeded in reducing pre -university years in the country and also, adding Technical and Vocational skills to the foundation his predecessors have laid before him (Jerry Rawlings), with the Senior Secondary School (SSS) and the Junior Secondary School (JSS) being three (3) years each.

This reform aimed at equipping the local people with skills to earn a livelyhood both in and out of school.

This yielded some marginal output but did not last long, since the weaknesses became visible. Who knows, it might be that the vision of the NDC were good but did not withstand the prowess of globalization.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) also tempered with the SSS and the JSS. The SSS was changed to SHS (Senior High School) whilst the JSS was also changed to JHS (Junior High School) with the duration being 4 years and still maintaining the 3 years for the JHS.

Well, they (NPP) did not last to see the success of that vision.

All these reforms of the reformers reforms are acknowledged but are not necessary.

Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah once said, “We shall measure our progress by the improvement . . . by the number of children in school, and by the quality of their education...”

This culture of gratuitous reforms must stop. Any party, who wins power, sets committee(s) to review what his predecessors had done and instead of continuing from there, suspends and reshuffles all over again without the necessary equipment.

Look at this scenario, a graduate from the SHS who reads geography, can not recognize what an optical square is when given one. The educational system is theoretical rather than pragmatic. The students are only prepared for examination purposes and fumbles impeccably when on the field.

Alfred Mercier descended that, “What we learn with pleasure we never forget”.

Juxtaposing this to our system, what we need is to provide schools with the needed facilities to be able to withstand the prowess of globalisation.

I think this would enhance and equip us in all aspect, be it practical or theoretical. When this is not done, they should stop deceiving us that were are the future leaders of this country. This gratuitous conception, wastes time and resources especially the hard earned monies extracted from our poor tax payers who struggle everyday to earn a living.

I want to take this opportunity to tell our politicians that, our educational system is in crisis and they are the only people who can rectify the problem; they should stop adding more salt to the injury.

My suggestion is that, the problem should be tackled from its grass root; rather than seeking to score political points and by setting committees to probe it with a devils eye.

If any one wants to temper with it, it is going to affect US (youth) since WE would be beneficiaries of the unscrupulous programmes.

Recently, on Friday, August 7, 2009, Daily Graphic covered a story with banner headline, "School records 0% BECE pass for eight years". Also a series of cases on examination mal practices have been recorded and an example is from myjoyonlice.com , "the Police arrested an examination supervisor and two teachers for allegedly leaking questions on the Mathematics Paper Two of this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE)."
If adequate structures had been put in place, how can such ridiculous things have happened.

What a shame, and you call us, future what?

Art 25 (e) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana states, "the development of a system of schools with adequate facilities at all levels shall be actively pursued."

This clearly talks for it self and I don’t have to remind anybody of the gravity of the clause above. If there should be any reform at all, best brains both on the field and on retirement should be contacted. And also thorough research should be done bearing in mind the changing trends on the Continent as well as the new ways of learning and doing things in the 21st century. The constitution did not state that the educational system would be changed by any party in power.

Once more, I want to take this opportunity to draw the attention of the Minister of Education, Hon. Alexander Tetteh-Enyo to review his plans for the educational system because we don't want any more failures and to remind you of the quote by Peter Brougham, "Education make a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave".