Mr Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Wednesday attributed the falling standard of education to the downward trend of the English language.
Speaking at a national forum on the falling standard of education for directors of education, heads of Senior High Schools (SHS) and heads of English departments in Kumasi, he said the usage of the English language was pivotal in any academic or intellectual pursuit.
Mr Bannerman-Mensah noted that the 2007 National Education Assessment (NEA) report on basic schools indicated that pupils performed poorly in both the English language and mathematics.
He said a report from the West African Examination Council (WAEC) also stated that “most of the candidates were not able to express themselves clearly and logically and that their command of the English language was woefully poor”.
Mr Bannerman-Mensah attributed some of the poor performance of students in the English language to teachers' attitude to the teaching of the language, large number of students in a class and poor grounding in grammar particularly in basic mechanics.
He, however, said with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the GES had put in place a National Literacy Acquisition Programme (NALAP) aimed at encouraging kindergarten to primary three pupils to acquire literacy skills in their local languages.
This, the Director-General said would enhance the teaching and learning of the English language from primary four to JHS.
Professor Naa Afarley Sackeyfio, an English language consultant, noted that parents were morally obliged to give their children the right type of reading materials to enable them cultivate reading habits.
She blamed teachers for not doing much to help their pupils and students to learn and use the language saying “English language is a foreign language that can only be learnt with deliberate effort”.
Prof Sackeyfio urged teachers to effect the right change in their English teaching approach and methodology to improve the situation.
Mr Joseph Kwabena Onyinah, the Ashanti Regional Director of Education, who presided over the forum, expressed optimism that participants would make concrete steps to address the situation.