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November 2, 2009 | Education

SUSTAINABILITY OF FOUR YEARS SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL EXPEDIENT.

ABDUL WAKIL AHMED YAHAYA
ABDUL WAKIL AHMED YAHAYA

SUSTAINABILITY OF FOUR YEARS SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL EXPEDIENT.

I have humbly decided to add my voice to the pressing and challenging educational issues,specifically the duration of the S.H.S. program.

Knowledge is so important that Jesus Christ said"For lack of knowledge my people perish".This is the extent to which Jesus Christ appreciates the need for education.It is not for anything that Prophet Mohammad said"Seek knowledge even if you will find it in China"These two influential men have recognised the need for a learned soceity.

It only sends a signal that Government with the stakeholders in the educational sector find a lasting solution to the problems in the educational sector,especially the recent struggle for the duration of the S.H.S. program.The N.P.P. government decided to change the existing three years of S.S.S.to a four year S.H.S..It is important that we as Ghanaians appreciate the fact that the N.P.P. government put that policy in place with a lot of good intent.However,the most unfortunate part of this policy was the inability of the then Government to put in place infrastractural development for this well intended program.

When the news of the extension of the duration of the then S.S.S. came to my notice,i received it with mixed reaction.I finally took a stand on the matter and came to the accept the four year S.H.S. system as good and something that will improve the grades of students.However,a time came when i realised that the stand i took was a wrong one.I now felt that the most important thing was to strengthen the educational system(most importantly,the basic system).It is said that a building that has a weak foundation will collapse.This forced me to support the campaign promise of Prof. Mills and the N.D.C to revert to the three year system.

After Prof. Mills assumed office as the President Of Ghana,i clearly came to see the problems of the duration of S.H.S/S.S.S. system.The truth of the matter is that,as at now,both the three year and the four year systems have serious challenges.

CHALLENGES OF THE FOUR YEAR SYSTEM.
The four year system requires a lot of spending.This is because government has to provide infrastacture for the success of the program.The money that would be used for infrastractural developments in our S.H.S. system could have been used to build basic schools in this country especially in the rural areas.The building for the fourth year in one senior high school,say,Temasco, is enough to build a Kindergaten,Primary, and a J.H.S.(BASIC SYSTEM).A simple comparison will prove my point.For example,in the basic system,we have a two year Kindergaten system and a six year and three year system for Primary and J.H.S. respectively.In my former school,Temasco,we have three different classes for the science program:-Sc.1,Sc.2,Sc.3.Therefore in form one and in Sc.1,we say you are in 1Sc.1.It applies to all of the others in respect of program,form and class.Also,the General Art program has five classes for every form.We have two for Home Economics,three for Business and one for Visual Arts.All these classes add up to fourteen.In the basic system, the classrooms add up to eleven.The basic system will also need a staff common room and a headteacher's office.This finally adds up to thirteen.It therefore proves from comparative analysis that the money needed for the four years could be used to build structures for the basic system in rural areas.You can just imagine the amount of money that will be used to make the S.H.S. program possible.

CHALLENGES OF THE THREE YEAR SYSTEM NOW(REVERTING TO THE THREE YEAR SYSTEM).

The N.D.C's better Ghana manifesto said that the N.D.C. will revert to the three year S.S.S. system.

Reverting to the three year system also has a lot of problems.The four year system as implemented by the Kufuor administration was structured in such a way that the first year will focus solely on the core subjects;-Core mathematics,English,Social studies,Integrated science.The elective subjects are then added to the core subjects in the second year onwards.It is also to be remembered that it started with those who entered the then S.S.S. in the year 2007.Thus it started with the 2007/2008 academic year.Those students are presently in S.H.S.2 in their third term.That is to mean that they are on their way to form three.From the above implementations,it is only logical to state that those students are short of knowledge in the field of elective subjects.This has left the students frustrated and distressed.This will affect the performance of the students negetively.


Well,Governnment may decide to say that those who entered the then S.S.S in the year 2007 and 2008 should undergo the four year system due to their predicament and allow the incoming 2009 batch and subsequent ones to to continue with the three year.That will mean that those who entered the S.H.S in 2007 will complete in 2011.Those who entered in in 2008 will complete in 2012.The incoming 2009 batch will complete in 2012 by the above stated principle.This means therefore that those who entered in 2008 and those about to enter this year,2009 will complete in the same year if they go through the three year and four year S.S.S program respectively.This will put a strain on our tertiary institutions,since there will be twice the number of students that will complete that year.

This is also not feasible because we cannot build temporal structures for those that fall in the four year range,only for these structures to be useless in two years time.It is therefore important that the four year system become permanent in our educational system.

Hon. Alex Tettey Enyo has said on numerous occassions that the most important thing is to strengthen the basic part of the education system.I agree slightly with him.Assuming there is a book that hits the market today and the book has a beautiful cover yet the information in it is irrelevant,then the book is useless.Now,if that book has a bad colour on its cover,yet the information in it is relevant,then we can say that the book is good.However,if the book has a beautiful cover and in it you can find relevant information,then it is logical to conclude that it is the best.This applies to our educational system.

In relation to this,I think Governnment should maintain the four year system and strengthen the basic system of education.It is important that Government becomes extremely committed to strenghing the system by providing the necesssary logistics.Government should not be detracted by anyone in the performance of its duty.I

I am pleading with all Ghanaians to help salvage the educational sector.Let us not be blinded by partisan political lenses in our quest to see progress in our nation.

All in all we cannot talk about the educatoinal system without talking about the technocrats,the teachers.It is important that our politicians involve our technocrats in decisions about the educational sector.Teachers should be well motivated in order that they will teach with all their concentration.

I myself,am a supporter of the national democratic congress,but in my humble candid view,President Mills should break his campaign promise of reverting to the three year secondary education and continue with the four year system in view of these problems.

President Mills being a man of integrity will not like to see students fail brutally in their exams due to shortage in knowledge of elective subjects.Therefore I believe it is TECHNICALLY EXPEDIENT to continue the four year program and strengthen the system.Government must also source for funds to construct more basic schools.The conditions under which some of them live is deplorable.

Mr. President,we support your genuine desire to build a better Ghana.

Abdul Wakil Ahmed Yahaya

[email protected]

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