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16.10.2007 Education

'Let's support educational reforms': Senior Lecturer urges Ghanaians

By Kwabena Amankwah
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Ghanaians have been called upon to look at the new educational reforms with an open mind and positive outlook, and contribute their individual quota towards its successful implementation instead of just criticising it because of the teething problems arising out of its implementation.

In the words of the Head of Basic Education Department at the University of Cape Coast, Prosper Deku, "that attitude of just criticising everything without offering useful suggestions is counter-productive and does not promote our national development."

Speaking exclusively with The Statesman, the Senior Lecturer described the new educational reforms as "very important and timely", adding that after going through the old educational system for 20 years, there was the urgent need to overhaul the entire system to make it more relevant to our contemporary needs and to help the products meet the challenges of the ever-changing global world.

"The reforms are very important and timely. That is why it is expected that all meaningful Ghanaians offer useful suggestions to help address the problems that are being encountered in its implementation. To just sit down aloof and criticise won't help the cause of the nation. We all have a role to play to ensure its successful implementation because when it succeeds the benefits accrue to the whole nation and not any single individual or a group," Mr Deku stated.

According to the educationist, even though there is no sharp difference in terms of the subject content of the old and new systems, "the change of name to Junior High and Senior High will have some positive psychological effect on the students, as it will re-orient them and give them a new image."

He described as laudable the plan to provide a structured apprenticeship training programme for students who will exit the educational system at the Junior High level, adding "this was a very important aspect that the old reforms ignored, hence the mass unemployment among the youth."

Mr Deku told The Statesman that the Basic Education Department of the University of Cape Coast was well-positioned to help produce the calibre of teachers who would meet the challenges of the new educational reforms.

He added that the Department had restructured its programmes to help respond positively to the challenges of the reforms, with the introduction of new programmes, such the Bachelor of Education(Early Childhood) programme, which is expected to take of next academic year and specifically meant to produce qualified teachers to handle the various Early Childhood Educational Centres.

According to Mr Deku, plans are also far advanced to hook the Department to the Wide Area Network of the University to prepare the grounds for the implementation of the Department's programme of taking its students through ICT training to enable them handle that aspect of the new educational reforms when they go to the field.

On what needs to be done to ensure the success of the reforms, the Senior Lecturer called for effective collaboration between policy makers and teachers who have a key role to play it its implementation.

"It is important that the policy makers work hand in hand with us at all levels of the programme. We don't have to work in isolation. When we work hand in hand, I,m sure we can ensure the successful implementation of the reforms for the collective good of the whole nation," Mr Deku stated.

He also stressed the need for effective teacher motivation, describing that as a sine qua non for the success of the reforms, stressing "without that I'm afraid, the reforms will be good on paper, but on the ground it will remain a failure."

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