We find the statistics provided by the National Co-ordinator of the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System; Mr Samuel Oppong where he indicated that 176,128 candidates, representing 46.93 per cent of the 375,280 candidates who sat for the 2011 BECE met the criteria for selection and placement into Senior High Schools (SHSs) and Technical Institutions (TIs) as highly unacceptable.
We cannot accept the mediocre statement issued by the Ghana Education service, which said that ''this is an improvement over last year because 172,359 out of 350,888 candidates who wrote the BECE qualified for placement into SHSs and TIs during last year''. We cannot understand how this can be an improvement especially when the results for last year put the total percentage at 49% whiles this year's percentage was 47%. The question we are asking is 'How can GES call this an improvement'?
It is very worrying for a developing Nation like Ghana to have numbers as huge as almost 200,000 pupils failing the Basic Education Examination and to add insult to injury; GES tells us it is an improvement over last year. One would wonder if the GES is expecting parents and the entire Ghana to clap for them for this abysmal performance.
The multimillion pound question we are asking is, 'If all these students had passed the examination, would they have gotten access to Senior High School's or Technical Institution's?. Our disappointment was deepened when a state minister said that all those who have failed should go and seek admission in vocational schools. This is an unfortunate statement, as if to say that, the vocational schools are a preserve for the block headed members of the society.
To me many Ghanaians, all these episodes bring us to one single point that Government of Ghana since 1992 has never been serious with education in this country.
What is going to be the fate of all these people who by virtue of academic failure become automatic school dropouts? Are we not giving impetus to the already high rates of unemployment, streetism, armed robbery and all other social deviant characters in the society? Simple mathematical calculations should tell us that if every year, just 100,000 people drop out at the BECE level (which is lower estimate) then we are getting 500,000 people show have already not crossed to the SHS within 5 years. We have not even come to talk of those who also fail at the SHS levels and thus do not enter any tertiary institution.
The piecemeal approach of government to education is gradually annihilating the fabric that makes a good society. It is high time government realized that education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. It is also a fact that, the destiny of this country lies in the quality of students we churn out from our institutions. For those of us whose parents are not in the position to send us abroad to study or even take us to private schools in Ghana, we are the burden of the state if we fail.
It is worthy of note that, the tragedy of Ghana's educational system is played in two scenes - incompetent pupils facing competent teachers and incompetent teachers facing competent pupils. Arguably, it is often multifaceted for anyone to understand why government institutions even though are handled by trained or professional teachers, yet anytime results are released from WAEC, private schools, whose teachers are mostly Secondary School graduates perform better than those in the public schools. We think that some people are simply not doing their work.
It must be clearly understood that the role of various stake holders in the provision of quality education cannot be over emphasised. Even though government remains the highest stakeholder in the provision of quality education in Ghana, government has not lived up to its expectation by providing conducive environment for teaching and learning in many deprived communities in the country under the forth republican administration. Most basic schools in Ghana are still challenged with very pertinent and easily solvable problems like, text books, furniture, improper school buildings etc.
It is shameful that after 54 years of independence, we have failed the children of this nation. In the Daily Graphic of Tuesday, October 4, 2011, it was reported that school children in the Shama district of the Western Region have no furniture and are therefore, compelled to either sit or lie on the floor while writing or studying.
Apart from these problems, teachers have no tables, common rooms, and even cardboards which are basic needs to facilitate their work. Teachers arrive at their schools tired as they often trek six, or more kilometres to their schools. A termite-infested school incidentally scored zero percent in the just released BECE examination results since no books could be kept in the classroom. If they kept them at the office, it is possible they will be eaten by termites before the next day.
If government has failed in this direction to provide leadership by ensuring that schools have basic teaching and learning materials, we, do not see why the current administration should be kept there. Change is what we need at this crucial moment to save our children from falling victims to possible social vices in this world.
We demand now that, government should provide logistics and resources to facilitate the work of teachers in deprive schools. GES must intensify its supervisory role whiles educators and policy makers must consciously spare the time to generate and re-generate a coherent, technological outlook for education in Ghana.
Millions of Ghanaians have been educated since independence. The issues of quality and the need for a diversified curriculum which confront us today are the challenges of our time. One cannot overstress the Accelerated Development Plan of Education of 1951 and the 1961 Education Act which gave free education to millions of children in Ghana under the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was during this period that Education in Ghana became meaningful.
It is for this same reason that, the CPP attaches the greatest importance to the development of education at all levels. It must be the utmost responsibility of government to spare no efforts to rid this country completely of illiteracy, and it attendant curses of ignorance, poverty, and disease. It should be the aim of government to ensure that, right from primary school level to university level, there is a continuous flow of talent properly directed to meet our every need, and drawing its inspiration from the challenge to make a definite contribution to world civilization and culture.
We wish to urge all Ghanaians to consider the CPP's position on education which have been made clear in our 2008 manifesto. The CPP is committed to merging the JHS and the SHS to avoid school drop outs. The inability of a child to pass simple BECE exam is not a yardstick for the child to stay out of the class.
National Youth Organiser
Convention People's Party - CPP