Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has re-echoed John Dramani Mahama’s catchphrase, ‘You have never been President before,’ ostensibly to dismiss his calls for him to resign over dwindling standards in the sector.
John Mahama recently asked the Education Minister to delegate authority if he is unable to help students in low-performing schools improve.
It follows the Minister’s threat to close all underperforming schools if they do not improve educational outcomes.
Mr Mahama believes that closing such schools is not only unacceptable but also demonstrates gross incompetence on the Minister’s part, emphasizing that it is the Minister’s responsibility to ensure that all schools have the necessary resources to improve their academic outcomes.
However, in a media interaction on Tuesday, March 21, Dr. Adutwum found the ex-President’s position perplexing.
“The former President made a famous statement that if you have not been a President before, you can’t question or engage him. But this same person is trying to engage me as a Minister when I have never been a president before. So, I really don’t understand why I am being engaged”, he pointed out.
The Minister went on to praise the government’s educational achievements.
He maintained that the gains made in the sector since the NPP government took office have been incomparable.
“But I want to tell you one thing, Nana Akufo-Addo’s achievements in education are incontestable. The records of President Akufo-Addo in education are unmatched. So, if anyone wants to engage me as Minister of Education, I don’t have any record of my own. I have the record of the President”, Dr Adutwum added.
Why poorly performing schools are to be shut
According to the Minister, a school with a consistent zero to ten per cent pass rate should develop intervention programs to ensure that the majority of their students are able to continue their education rather than becoming a liability to their parents and society due to their inability to pass their exam.
He explained that closing the schools would help save the nation from the huge financial losses incurred by the government as a result of the school’s existence and that the affected students would be redistributed to other nearby schools, allowing them to continue their education.
However, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), for example, has taken on the Education Minister, claiming that the move is misguided.
“This is totally misplaced. That is not where that comment should go. For these schools that he is talking about, those who go there have poor grades, you put all these in one place and expect the heads to do magic. The Minister should sometimes consult”, says GNAT's General Secretary, Thomas Musah.