Teacher Absenteeism Cause Of Poor BECE Performance In Northern Region
5/9/2012 11:05:48 PM -
Teacher absenteeism has been identified as one of the major factors contributing to poor performance of pupils in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the Northern Region.
Many teachers in the region fail to go to school regularly while others vacate their posts to attend to personal issues.
Regrettably, the failure of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sanction absentee teachers has contributed to the persistence of this negative attitude.
At a forum organised by the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED), a network of organisations working to promote equitable access to quality education, stakeholders in the education sector observed that the situation was so serious that some of the teachers attracted nicknames such as ‘Thursday-Thursday’, 1/5 and 2/5 to indicate which days and how many times that such teachers come to school.
The stakeholders, including personnel of district education directorates and representatives of advocacy organisations, were speaking at an education forum organised to discuss the poor BECE performance in the region.
Startling revelations were made about how the performance of BECE candidates in the region had been uninspiring over the past five years.
Whilst the national average pass rate had been around 50 per cent, Northern region’s pass rate has been around 40 per cent.
Just last year, the region recorded 41.1 per cent pass and shockingly, some urban areas, like Tamale and Savelugu, performed even poorly than less-developed areas like Zabzugu and Tatale.
Tamale, for instance, placed 98th in the 2009 national ranking of BECE performances in the districts. It declined further to 103rd in 2010.
The participants blamed this poor performance on a number of factors including teacher absenteeism, the lack of learning materials, poor supervision, lack of support from parents and political leaders, among others.
They described the situation where the GES transfered teachers cited for indiscipline from one school to another as highly inappropriate, because such teachers only went to their new postings and continued with such acts of indiscipline.
The participants, therefore, recommended intensive supervision, sanctioning of absentee teachers and the provision of adequate learning materials and infrastructure.
A former Education Director for Zabzugu/Tatale, Mr Abdul-Rahaman Saani, said while the region had been performing poorly, the Zabzugu/Tatale District had been improving.
He attributed the success to effective leadership, explaining that during his tenure, he paid unannounced visits to the schools and that kept the teachers on their toes.
Mr Saani noted that the provision of logistics and monetary support by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had also contributed positively, because it had enabled the GES to increase supervision in the schools and circuits and also got the community leaders and other members on board.
He called on the GES to ensure that such success stories were replicated in all districts to improve performance.
The Co-ordinator of NNED, Mr Gaskin Dassah, said issues emerging from the forum would be included in a plan and pursued to ensure that the recommendations were carried out to improve performance.