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25.03.2008 Education

Educational System Must Embrace Innovations In IT - VC

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Professor C.N.B Tagoe, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, has observed that any educational system 'worth its salt' should embrace innovations in Information Technology (IT).

The system, he said, would consequently come out with products, who would be able to compete in the global world.

Prof Tagoe made the observation at the Ninth Senior High School Symposium organised by the Legon branch of the Church of Christ (CC) at the UG last Sunday.  The occasion had 'Fifty Years of Education: The Way Forward,' as its theme.

The Vice Chancellor urged government, as a matter of policy, to bring Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the doorsteps of all educational institutions, with universal access to the new technologies and lifelong teaching and learning opportunities for all, regardless of location or social standing.

He recalled that at independence, Ghana had one of the best educational systems in sub-Saharan Africa, with basic and secondary schools across the length and breadth of the country, in addition to two university colleges, and large number of training colleges, polytechnics, technical and vocational institutions.

The system, the Vice Chancellor contended, worked well until the second half of the 1970s when the educational system became one of the major casualties of the general economic decline facing the country.

Prof Tagoe pointed out that the ultimate result of all these deficiencies was poor quality of teaching and learning, as well as poor patronage of the school system by children of school-going age.

He said it was regrettable to note that education in Ghana today was at a crossroads, 'still grappling with issues of funding, access, quality, relevance, integration of science and technology.'

The Vice Chancellor stated that the challenges facing the educational sector in Ghana were such that, it should have as its aim, the creation of well-balanced individuals with the requisite skills, knowledge, values and aptitudes for self-actualisation and for the socio-economic and political transformation of the nation.

He suggested that, as the country reflected on 50 years of education, and looked forward, efforts should be made to improve upon 'what we have been doing all these years, and what can be done to improve upon the educational system.'

Prof Tagoe said not only should teachers be properly trained and well motivated, but the classrooms and laboratories are equipped, adding that, 'while we turn out larger numbers of students, we should also focus on the quality of education we are offering them.'

He was of the view that some of the steps, which could be taken to improve upon the quality of tertiary education in the country, include providing students with specialised skills and a general education that 'encourages flexibility and innovation and the ability to refresh their skills as the economic environment changes.'

Mrs Frema Osei-Opare, Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment, reiterated that the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), government's initiative, sought to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth, to ultimately, empower them to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic and sustainable development of the nation.

Mrs Osei-Opare advised students to take full advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by ICT, and aspire to attain great academic laurels.

Speaking on 'The Psychological Impact of a New Education Reform: Students' Adjustment,' Dr Michael T. Anim, Psychologist and Counsellor, pointed out that the reforms in education would not impact positively on students 'if you have not been adequately schooled in its aims, objectives and philosophy'.

Dr Anim gave the assurance that the Church would continue to teach and encourage Christian students to take full advantage of every opportunity that government provided to maximise their potential and become useful and responsible adults.

Evangelist George Kingsley Abugah, a Minister of the Church, said the symposium was instituted nine years ago to provide a platform for students in high schools to appreciate the need for a sustained and conscious effort to aspire for higher academic laurels.

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