Our educational system: The paradigm
The priority of every government is to ensure quality education for its citizenry since it is of no doubt that the tool for development is education. This article seeks to look into the Ghanaian education to bring to bear the progress and the challenge as well as the way forward to ensuring the quality we seek.
Ghana has undergone various forms of educational reviews from the pre-colonial times to date, and review reports and the like have emerged but the evidence of the quality still appears to be like a mirage.
Education is seen as the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are practicable and relevant to society and tends to bring about positive change in attitude and behaviour, reconstruction and development in society. The goal should be geared towards the total holistic development of a person.
The Ghanaian Education History
Education in Ghana dates back to the pre-colonial era. Informal and indigenous education was the form of education around such era. The Europeans introduced western education to us during their time of mechanize activities and through colonial times. Their education was more bookish as compared to the practical nature of the local indigenous education even though it was not structured relative to western education. Fast forward, after the colonial rules, more schools were established to expand the western form of education which was more of reading, writing arithmetic.
Since then, many reforms have been introduced by many governments to our education system more practical and relevant to our society. There was a review in 1974, 1981 and 2002 (Anamuah-Mensah committee). These were all structured towards making our system more relevant and ensuring quality in our education.
The Recent Happenings
“You cannot change your country without changing your education system”- Dr Yaw Adutwum (minister-designate for the Ministry of Education). Quality education is the hallmark of the stakeholders of our education and hence the current review of our curriculum. This involves setting up the right structures and mechanisms to ensure quality input and delivery that will result in an excellent educational outcome.
To ensure this “we must look at access, quality and relevance of our education which the key to an excellent educational system” Dr Yaw Adutwum (minister-designate for the Ministry of Education).
It could be recalled that Ghana has experienced a tremendous improvement in access over the years. In the year 2017, Ghana recorded 85% transition rate from the JHS to the SHS from 48% in the previous years. However, this comes with its own challenges. From the basic level is lack of infrastructure to accommodate some students. There are some places where there are few or even virtually o teachers because of the deplorable states of the schools and hence low enrollment.
In achieving accessibility, Ghana should work on its enrollment rate and not be complacent and live in mediocrity by comparing itself to other African countries. The Gross Tertiary enrollment ratio of the youth between 18-23 years in South Korea is 93.6%, in the USA is 85% whiles Ghana is at 16.19%. Children should be encouraged to go to school. More infrastructures built, ensure quality tuition etc. We should be more sensitive to the provision of adequate resources and facilities and creating an environment that helps in the promotion and sustainability of quality delivery of our educational system.
“When you do access without ensuring quality, you’ve not done anything well” Dr Yaw Adutwum (minister-designate for the Ministry of Education). The quality we seek has resulted in the various reforms of this era. Currently, there was a review in 2019 and a new review in 2021. This is channelled to building and producing the best quality product to IT and practical experiences, creativity and innovation. What will be the implementation of this one too? Are the facilities available? Are our complementing resources available? Which controls are instituted for monitoring and control? Do we have the teacher? These and many more are the issues to ensure the effectiveness of the reforms.
It is a good start with the current change of the curriculum and it looks promising! We must support teachers and train them often. We have made a good move by training our teacher for four years henceforth by the continuous teacher development should be properly checked and well-structured because it helps teachers to stay relevant and give off the quality tuition and product we so desire.
Above all, our products and the reforms should be relevant to our society and the world at large. It should be competitive enough in the world market. Despite the challenge of producing products that sometimes cannot find anything meaningful and sometimes others to become redundant, lets focus or the relevance of our educational system.
Ghana is now having a paradigm shift and focuses more on creativity and innovation, science and technology which includes IT capacity building. We can still do more by introducing programmes that are more relevant from the basic schools through to the universities. We can do labour observatory. That is, ranking the availability and the most needed skills in society and structure our system towards it. It could an area for self-establishment in the form of solving societal problems and through entrepreneurship. It could where most people are needed both in the private and public sector, and we reorient our students and encourage them to such area.
In our quest for achieving excellence in our educational system going forward, we must pay attention to the following as well;
Ensure the provision of Teaching and Learning Resources. With our increase in access, we must provide the needed resources to ensure quality delivery and implementation. The textbooks should be made available. We must be dynamic in our teaching style with field experiences and training, stationeries, computers, projectors and the rest should be made available to facilitate the teaching and learning process. These materials should be provided to include the brail and the rest been used by people with disability and special needs (PWDs)
The provision of Infrastructural facilities. The ministry, Ghana education service and other stakeholders should ensure the improvement of the provision of good infrastructural facilities in our institutions across the country. It is so sad to see students learning in deplorable states more especially at the deprived and remote areas. These may include the school buildings/classrooms, dormitories, science laboratories, staff bungalows, art studios, libraries, good drinking water and practice/workshop centres. Proving these structures and facilities is relevant in creating an environment conducive for quality delivery at all levels in our educational process.
The training of Teachers. The quality of teachers we produce will tend to influence the quality of our students and the educational system at large. The teachers’ quality mostly depends on these two main factors; the type of the persons and the quality of training in the pre-service and the in-service training they receive. The college of education reforms of 4 years is a good initiative as well as the conversion of the polytechnics in to technical universities. However, we must consider the quality of the training given within the 4 years’ span and the availability of lecturers. Again, we have poor in-service training structures and system that ensure that teachers embrace new idea and concepts for development and enriching them for quality delivery and staying relevant. Colleges of Education or Teacher Training Institutions should also train more teachers to handle Technical and Vocational subjects at all level and schools that offer Technical and Vocational programmes quality products well equipped to handle the technical and vocational sector of the economy of Ghana.
Paying attention to Technical and Vocational education. Our indigenous education was of this form until we had a shift of focus with western education. This has paced less premium of the technical and vocational training in Ghana. Many are preconceived that technical education is meant for those who are “not academically good”. This is a killing disease and an impediment to our growth as a country. There should be sensitization of student to have an interest in technical and vocational education, expansion of institutions to cater for large numbers and restructuring to be more attractive and qualifier for students to pursue. Technical and vocational education is a backbone to our development.
Implementation, management and supervision. One of our major challenges outlined earlier is the implementation of our beautiful paper reforms and ideas. Heads of schools, the ministry of education (MoE), the Ghanan Education Service (GES) and all other stakeholders should put in the effort to ensure proper implementation of the new reforms and quality delivery of the educational process. Heads should monitor instructional time, teachers’ punctuality, the pedagogical process and make correction and recommendation as well.
Funding of our education. I may not be able to end without talking about funding. The government, donors, private sectors, Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s and others stakeholder should help in the provision of funds to help sustain and provide quality inputs and material to ensure the quality of education we so desire. Many of these ideas and plans will fail without an intentional act of funding them.
In conclusion, it is of the utmost interest of the government to ensure quality education which is very crucial in the present Ghanaian educational system for development. Many are the challenges and setbacks but we are the best people to put it into a good shape. Let’s and consider providing a holistic education that will influence attitude positively, give practical knowledge and skills that will ensure the development of our country. The improvement and sustainability of our educational system is a joint responsibility and partnership between the government and all other stakeholders.
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