Inchaban (w/r) Feb. 19 - GNA-The Saint Roses Secondary School at Akwatia in the eastern Region emerged overall winners in the 48th independence anniversary schools debate.
They scored 24.7 per cent to defeat Presbyterian Boys' Secondary, Legon, who had 23.2 per cent with the Kpando Secondary and Holy Child Sec. having 21.5 while Saint Mary's Boys' Secondary scored 22.8 per cent in a lively debate at the Sekondi College near Inchaban.
Speaking on the topic, "That the proposed shift of the Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) period from three to four years will be a relief to students for better performance, Miss Tsiwaa Osei-Nkansah, from the St Roses SSS, speaking against the motion, said the extension of the SSS would be expensive to both the government, parents and teachers.
She said any delay by the government and meeting the needs of the various SSS, could lead to pre-mature closure of the schools by the management.
Ms. Osei-Nkansah said the frequent changes of the Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) was having a negative impact on schools and had halted programmes that could have enhanced the performance of the SSS.
She stressed that the current change being proposed was only a political propaganda and could not solve the problems of the educational sector, adding that the lack of teachers in some classrooms, lack of infrastructure and textbooks were major problems that needed to be addressed and not the extension of the duration of the years of the SSS students.
Miss Esther Akrasi-Sarpong from the Kpando SSS, speaking against the motion said there should be an attitudinal change among all students by ensuring that they attend school and learn, irrespective of their environment.
She said currently, facilities at the various senior secondary schools were under pressure from the large number of students, while there is a general lack of "internet-hooked computers" to facilitate research and other information.
"Many students in most of our SSS are still studying under trees, sheds and uncompleted buildings while the basic level and junior secondary school were not properly resourced."
Ms. Akrasi-Sarpong said properly resourced teachers and improved conditions of service would encourage more teachers to give of their best, adding that syllabi should be reviewed regularly to enable it meet current demands.
Master Agana Isure from Presby Sec. Legon said any extension of the current SSS system could result in poor performance from the students, an increase in student indiscipline, truancy and an increase in the need for more trained teachers.
He suggested that the additional year should rather be given to the Junior Secondary Schools and not the SSS.
Master John Osei-Antwi speaking for Saint Mary's Boys Sec, said the inability of students to complete their syllabus would be catered for when the current system is extended for another year.
He said mounting pressure on students and teachers would be eliminated, while rural and slow learners would be assisted to catch up with fast learners.
Master Osei-Antwi said an extension would reduce the desire to sit for November SSCE while new students would be able to adjust in their new environment without distracting the academic calendar.
Master Osei-Antwi appealed to the government and future ones to stop experimenting with the educational system.
Miss Martyna Loh, representing Holy Child School said the extension of the SSS system, would give more time for students to prepare adequately before writing their exams.
She said sports and other recreational activities are almost extinct in many schools but with an additional year, such activities would be re-introduced and pressure from work on teachers and students would be reduced.
Mr. Joseph B. Aidoo, Western Regional Minister said the intension of the extension of the SSS was a government policy aimed at ensuring a more functional and applied education in Ghana.
He said education, which serves, as the engine for the development of any country would become an illusion if it were neglected.
Mr. Brian Akrong, an English Tutor of the Presby Sec. Legon making a contribution after the debate, said excessive copying by African countries had resulted in their slow development and stressed that Ghana must not copy other countries if the proposed extension could have negative impact on the various SSS.
"The primary schools has suffered enough and we need to invest more resources to make the foundation of the educational system effective, results oriented and to be able to produce a high level of qualified students before they enter SSS" he stressed.
All participating schools were presented with cash prizes.