The Ghana Education Service (GES) has proposed the re-introduction of science allowances for teachers as a measure to boost the teaching and learning of science in schools.
The Director-General of the GES, Mr Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, who made the proposal in Accra yesterday, said science education in the country was in a crisis and so there was the need to go back to the basics.
He was addressing participants and the media at a regional workshop on the contextualization of the teaching and learning of Science organised by the Centre for School and Community Science and Technology Studies (SACOST).
“We are still negotiating but it has to be approved by the powers that be,” the Director-General stated, and explained that the package was expected to serve as an incentive to motivate more science teachers to stay in the classrooms.
He said the GES would do its best to motivate teachers and urged them to teach science subjects with passion, stressing that motivation should not only be expressed in monetary or financial rewards but also through the positive response teachers got from their students.
He bemoaned the low enrolment in Science in schools and stressed that changes in the world called for pragmatic and innovative ways of tackling developmental issues in order to move in tandem with the dynamics of the modem scientific and technological age.
"The scientific age is a globalised and competitive one governed by ICT. Therefore, anyone who wants to properly integrate into this scientific and technological age has to be a person equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills in ICT," he stated.
Mr. Bannerman-Mensah said there was the need to empower the youth through the use of science and technology for them to appreciate efforts being made in the formal and informal manufacturing sectors for their social, political and economic development.
The Director of SACOST, Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, in a speech read on his behalf by the Co-ordinator of SACOST, Professor Kolawole Raheem, said the crisis the country was facing in the development and utilization of science and technology had its roots in its colonial history.
"It is on record that colonial education isolated learners from their communities and infused in them colonial values, customs, attitudes and knowledge systems that ignored the knowledge and value systems of the people," he explained.
He said decades after independence, educational systems on the African continent continued to exclude or ignore African systems of knowledge, including the values, customs, production methods and the general cultural environment of the African child.
That, he said, had led to the non-contribution of Africa to knowledge production that was germane to the continent, adding that "this has also led to the situation where science, mathematics and technology do hot seem to have any influence on the lives of the majority of people who study them".
He said a fear of Science and Mathematics had also been created among students, leading to the flight of the youth from those subjects.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need to give recognition to these issues and make education, especially science education, less isolated from the society it is designed to serve," he said.
He called for a bridge in the yawning gap between schooling and the cultural context of students.