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20.02.2013 Editorial

Let's End Education Politics

By DAILY GRAPHIC
Let's End Education Politics
LISTEN FEB 20, 2013

In a few weeks more than 400,000 final-year students of second-cycle educational institutions will begin the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) all over the country. That examination will determine the future of many of our youth and also build a solid human resource base for industry and business.

However, the signals from the corridors of the educational institutions do not show that all is well with development at the senior high school (SHS) level. Our educational system has not been spared the politics of our time, as successive governments have tried to experiment with various ideas.

Some time ago, the duration of the SHS course was three years. Then in early 2001 it was changed to four years during the Kufuor administration. Ghanaians will recall the big debate that greeted the introduction of the four-year system which compelled the National Democratic Congress (NDC), then in opposition, to threaten to revert the duration to three years if ever it came to power.

And true to that threat, the NDC government introduced legislation in Parliament to reduce the duration to three years in 2010.

The reduction in duration of the SHS course resulted in two streams of three-year and four-year SHS education at the same time.

Whatever the merits and the demerits of these two streams are is not the subject matter for today. Our concern now relates to how the school authorities are going to manage the two streams to write the WASSCE at the same time. We are being told that the authorities are overwhelmed by the large number of candidates because of inadequate examination halls, science laboratories and invigilators.

The Daily Graphic thinks that this is not the time to cry over spilt milk. Rather, it is an opportunity for all stakeholders to think outside the box to help the students write the WASSCE in an unhindered manner.

Already, school authorities are considering the closure of academic work in the lower classes at the SHS in order to make room for the examination. It has also been decided to postpone the date for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to make room for the WASSCE.

We know there is a Herculean task ahead of the stakeholders — students, teachers, parents and the government — in resolving the challenge to conduct a hitch-free examination.

Students and parents especially are going through anxious moments as the day for the examination draws near. Particularly for the three-year students, their worries include the fact that they are going to write the same examination with their mates who used four years to undertake the same course.

We know the three-year students have a lot of work to do to catch up, but they do not have a choice now. We urge them to study hard within the next few weeks in readiness for the examination.

The Daily Graphic urges teachers and school authorities to double up their efforts to help the students to prepare adequately for the examination.

We had indicated earlier that the politicisation of our educational system will not be a matter for discussion for today. Nonetheless, we think the present challenges offer food for thought in our plans to re-engineer the educational architecture for the future.

The Daily Graphic makes it clear that there is no electoral gain to be made through the politicisation of our educational system. If anything, it is our youth who will become the pawns in this political game.

Let us remind ourselves once again that as a country, we make no headway if we divide our ranks along political lines, instead of confronting the issues of society in a concerted manner.

The extreme partisanship gives room to our common enemies of poverty, ignorance and disease to take root in our society and retard our efforts at providing better living conditions for our people.

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