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17.04.2007 General News

MP raps gov’t over new SSS

By Nii Kwaku Osabutey ANNY

The Ranking Member of the Education committee of Parliament, Joseph Gidisu (MP) has lampooned the decision to increase the number of years spent at the senior secondary level from three (3) to four (4) years, insisting that the additional will not in anyway improve the quality of education at that level.

The one year increment is part of the new system contained in educational reforms that will be implemented in September. The new system includes a change in name to Junior High School and Senior High School. These, government hopes will bring desired improvements to secondary education.

Mr. Gidisu, who is the Member of Parliament for Central Tongu in the Volta Region, however told the dailyEXPRESS after the launch of the reforms that government should rather concentrate on improving the conditions of teachers and not increasing years spent in school.

He argued among others that the 4-year system as contained in the reform document rather decreases the number of subjects students would be pursuing at the senior high level.

Government's decision to increase the senior high years is contrary to the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Education that the three (3) years be maintained, and rather improve educational facilities, improve the standards of teaching and the conditions of teachers.

Mr. Gidisu says government's decision amounts to political influence which goes against the interest of the nation.

“How do you justify such a system especially when the entire populace says maintain the three years? What is happening is politically motivated and any other government would equally change it. Such an attitude does not help us move education in the country forward” he said.

The NDC MP described the reform as an old wine in new skin, adding that a mere improvement in the infrastructural base without a commensurate increase in the salary of teachers will effectively render the entire process useless.
“The living conditions of the teacher are beyond the classroom. Those things that affect the psyche of the teacher back home… how is the teacher able to take care of himself and his family in order to have a sound mind to teach effectively,” he said.

Mr. Gidisu says the proposed conditions for teachers in the reform document, is just lip service.

“It's not the lip service. Those are the political talk. We have inherent problems within this area that ought to be addressed.”

He also wondered where the government was going to get the money to finance the new system, especially when no proper budgetary allocation has been made to that effective.

He described the entire re-launch of the reform as a “flag waving exercise by the president.”