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06.01.2007 General News

'Education Policies Need Review'

By Francis Xah
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CHARLOTTE KESSON-SMITH, a legal practitioner, has called for a review of the country's educational policies because the policies have not been beneficial to the country's manpower development needs over the past 50 years, and will not do so in the next half century.

'Education in Ghana should ensure that the products of our educational system can help Ghana attain its national vision to compete effectively in a world that is growing smaller and more competitive each day,' she said.

Ms. Kesson-Smith said this on Thursday, at the 58th New Year symposium organized by the Institute of Adult Education, University of Ghana, Legon.

The symposium was on the topic 'Governance during the past five decades; views of the younger generation. Examining the relevance of Ghana's educational policies.'
Ms. Kesson-Smith noted that, no educational system could exist in a vacuum, so it must be tied to a purpose and a function.

She recalled that, 50 years ago, Ghana had an educational system that placed more emphasis on liberal arts instead of the sciences.

She said even though the educational policies in the 50s produced notable and respectable people like Kofi Annan, Prof. Allotey, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ama Ata Aidoo, Prof. Albert Adu-Boahen, and a host of others, the country's educational policies did not benefit the people.
The Dzobo Committee, she said, was set up in 1973 to examine the country's school curriculum after which it recommended the JSS/SSS concept.

She said the Dzobo Committee recommended significant and radical reforms to the educational policies.

A major recommendation of the committee, she noted, was the need to place emphasis on vocational and technical subjects throughout the entire pre-university course and particularly the basic school level.
'These recommendations were eventually implemented in 1987 and were supposed to help Ghana attain a sustained and self-reliant economic growth, modern scientific and technological development.' she said.

But 33 years after the Dzobo Committee's report was presented, and almost 20 years after its implementation, we need to ask and consider, whether these reforms have worked,' she said.
On the way forward, Ms Kesson-Smith proposed that teaching children to use simple hand tools and practical agriculture should be stopped and countries like USA, China, and India which teach their children more about the use of computers and its software technology to develop agriculture be initiated.

As a nation, there seems to be a misalignment between educational policies and national vision', she said, pointing out that, 'Ghanaians, over the past 20 years, have endeavoured to send their children outside Ghana for secondary and university education, to the extent that, foreign universities now do not wait for us to come to them, but come to Ghana to hold school fairs.'

'Locally, people strive hard to ensure that their children attend private or international primary schools. But is escaping from the system, the solution?' she asked.

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