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19.03.2007 General News

Education Experts Discuss Child Development

By William Yaw Owusu

AN education conference to maximize children’s potential towards future development has been held in Accra.

The workshop, the first of its kind, organised by Participatory Development Associates (PDA), which supports processes of empowerment in rural communities, was under the theme 'Maximising your child’s potential'

They will also explore ways in which the ‘Theory of Multiple Intelligence’ developed in 1983 by Dr. Haward Gardner; a professor of Education at Harvard University, in the United States, could be applied in Ghana to make children more intelligent.

The theory suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on Intelligence Quotient (IQ), is far too limited and Dr. Gardner has proposed eight different intelligences criteria to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

Throwing more light on the theory, Jay Davidson, author of a book called '99 Ways to Guide your Child to Succeed in Sschool,' who is in the country to assist some teacher training institutions to acquire new skills in teaching said 'It is good for parents and teachers to encourage positive behaviour in children and to some extent punish undesirable behaviour.

'Change is difficult but the attitude with which people take change is key,' adding that 'if Ghana was the Lome star of championing freedom in Sub-Saharan Africa then she should be the Lome star in education and other initiatives that are related to education.'

Dr. Gardner advised parents and guardians to complement teachers’ effort by teaching their children at home saying 'embrace the new idea that education is important for the child.'

He said the theory when well adopted could help build a strong education system. He also urged authorities in the education sector to minimise the student teacher ration.

Mr. Tony Dogbe, Co-director of PDA speaking on the topic 'Towards Ghana at 75- a shift towards child centred development', acknowledged the efforts currently being made by guardians and parents to seek quality education for their children.

'Many parents and guardians really want the best for their children. Many are sacrificing for their children.'

He said in this situation it was up to stakeholders in the education sector to design appropriate policies that will ensure that children receive quality education to make them responsible adults.

'We have to move away from the days when parents thought that the education of children was the responsibility of teachers and the education sector and also move away from narrow education to broad education.'

Mr. Dogbe further said the adult centred development agenda must give way to a child centred development where the needs of the child will be a priority.

Mrs. Marian Tackie, a Director at the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs said since education is the bedrock of any nation, the ministry will collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that children receive quality education.

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