From September this year, students who gain admission to secondary schools, vocational and technical institutes will spend four years to complete their programmes, instead of the current three years.
The new four-year senior high school (SHS) will offer general education, with electives in General, Business, Technical, Vocational and Agriculture options for entry into tertiary institutions (universities or polytechnics) or the job market.
This new system forms part of the major educational reform which was launched last week in Accra by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
The major highlights of the new reform are that universal basic education will be 11 years. That is, two years of kindergarten, six years in primary school and three years in junior high school (JHS).
After JHS, students may choose to go into different streams at the SHS comprising General Education and Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Education and Training (TVET) or enter into an apprenticeship scheme with some support from the government.
In addition, Technical, Vocational and Agricultural institutions will offer four-year courses, including the core SHS subjects.
Besides, teacher training colleges will be upgraded and the conditions of service for teachers improved, with special incentives for teachers in the rural areas.
In the new curriculum, at the kindergarten level lessons will be learnt through play, with emphasis on Numeracy and the Creative Arts, while at the lower primary the teaching of English and Ghanaian languages shall be combined in the teaching of Religious and Moral Education, Science and Hygiene, Life Skills, Civics and Culture.
At the upper primary, teaching will be in the dominant Ghanaian language, English, Basic Mathematical Skills, Integrated Science and Citizenship Education.
Furthermore, Physical Education, Music, Dance and other Creative Arts will be taught as practical subjects at the primary level.
In the meantime, at the JHS, English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, Integrated Science, including Agricultural Science, a Ghanaian language, Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Education and Training (pre-technical vocational), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and French will be taught.
Moreover, at the SHS, the core subjects will be English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and ICT.
In addition to the core subjects at the SHS, every school candidate must offer one of the following course programmes: Agriculture, Business, Technical, Vocational (Home Economics or Visual Arts), or General (Arts or Science).
For the Technical, Vocational and Agriculture Education stream of SHS, the following broad elective areas will be offered: Building Trades, Business Studies, Electrical Engineering, Hospitality Trades, Mechanical Engineering and Agriculture.
Story by Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa