Of what benefits are extra classes in the basic schools?
Apart from extra hours after schools had closed for the day, there are classes being organised at the weekends. These extra classes are advertised as the final push for hard-up kids to brush up their lessons, to enable them pass their examinations.
It has become such an integral part of the school curriculum that many parents fear that if they do not pay for these extra classes, their wards may not be able to pass class examinations, as well as the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
In more cases than one, the extra classes are organised without the official supervision of the accredited schools involved. Invariably, a few teachers get together to organise these classes, for which they charge a king's ransom.
In plain language, extra classes have become the means through which teachers augment their incomes.
The Chronicle sympathises with teachers over their meager wages. It is a fact of life that our teachers sacrifice everything for very poor remuneration. But, that is no license for them to extort monies from hard-up parents, under the guise of extra classes.
In some of the cases, toddlers in the kindergarten and nurseries are also caught up in this extra classes phenomenon. We do not believe extra classes do these toddlers any good. If anything at all, it extends the time these children spend in the classrooms for no justifiable reasons.
Financially, the extra classes are a burden on poor parents and guardians, many of whom are forced to pay, for fear of their wards not getting the necessary grounding academically.
We are of the opinion that lessons covered by these extra classes could be made to be absorbed into the normal classes. If there is need for any brush up, The Chronicle would like to believe that they might be useful to external examination candidates, like those preparing for the BECE.
All other kids do not necessarily need to be summoned to the classrooms at week-ends, to make up for any shortfall in the academic calendar.
The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service should take a hard look at these extra classes, and either abolish them or modify them to meet basic needs.
We do not believe toddlers in kindergartens and nurseries benefit from any of these extra classes. They are a waste of time and resources.