12.05.2005 General News

SSS needs quality leadership -Adei

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motivation of teachers, not extra year Accra, May 12, GNA - Professor Stephen Adei, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), said on Thursday that quality managerial leadership, teacher motivation and effective supervision were enough to reform the present three-year Senior Secondary School (SSS) period rather than an additional year. "If these are addressed, the SSS years need not be extended by one day," he said. "Rather we should focus on improving the quality of the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in the public sector that feed the SSS," Prof. Adei said.

Addressing the opening of the Eighth Annual Conference of the Association of Christian Schools of Ghana, Prof. Adei argued that there was no evidence that a four-year SSS would improve the overall quality of education.

"It may allow those from disadvantaged schools to catch up before the SSS final exams, but the problem is that at the JSS level, they get excluded and don't enter SSS at all.

"The solution may be in establishing day community SSS as the norm to improve access and divert funds from feeding the sons and daughters of those who can afford expensive JSS education," Prof Adei said. The two-day Conference is on the theme: "Christian Education, A Tool for Dynamic Change in Education".

Prof. Adei argued that the two years of kindergarten might bring welcome relief to struggling mothers but would not by itself improve the lot of children in underprivileged communities.

The Rector described as "terrible" the moral dimension of emerging trends of drug addiction, selling or sexual perversion in some of the country's famous secondary schools.

He underlined Christian education as a panacea and supported efforts to allow the churches back into the educational system, pointing out that name alone did not earn mission schools the difference they brought in moral character, but the Christian leadership, moral education, discipline and evidence of Christ in them. Basing Christian education on Luke 2:52, Prof. Adei called on parents and teachers to co-operate to ensure that young people had enough rest and sleep, ate well and exercised properly, and equipped them intellectually.

Luke 2:52 reads: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man."

He said it was "criminal" for children's time to be wasted without equipping them to meet the intellectual needs of their age. "As a nation, we must come up with minimum standards for each stage in the educational system and not to wait until age 15 or 18 to tell a child, 'I am sorry you did not make it at the JSS or SSS.'

"That requires immediate retraining of head teachers and headmasters in leadership and management, setting of academic and moral standards, introduction of independent and rigorous supervision system and motivation of teachers...."

He emphasised the development of the social dimension in education for the school to become an effective melting pot of tribes, a place to nurture respect for gender differences, common etiquette, communication skills and the propagation of the Gospel.

"Education without Christ is empty. And both parents and children need Christ and grounding in the Word of God," Prof Adei said. Education and Sports Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo, in a speech delivered by Deputy Minister of Education, Mrs Angela Baiden-Amissah, praised Christian educators for imbuing good morals in pupils over the years, but said they needed to do more because of the degeneration of morals and HIV/AIDS menace.

He underscored the importance of investment in education, saying with the integrity crisis in the area of leadership, no one could afford to downplay the importance of Christian education, in the growth and survival of the society.

The Reverend Ekow Wood, General Secretary of the Ghana Pentecostal Council (GPC), said education must bring attitudinal change, adding that the academic dishonesty among pockets of students and staff even at the highest institutions of learning were ample testimonies that the education system was failing to yield the desire behavioural change for national development.

The Rev Dr Gordon Kisseih, Senior Pastor of Miracle Life Gospel Church, who chaired the opening session of the conference, said Christian education, which dwelt on Christian principles in the formation of children must be embraced by the Government and policy makers to give hope to the nation.

He said when children were not taught to place a high premium on honesty, truth and integrity, they grew to become high profile leaders and yet very corrupt. He, therefore, underlined Christian education as a tool for a radical change in the educational system.

Group discussions of the conference, organised jointly with the GPC and Oral Roberts University Education Foundation, would discuss among other things financial management and records keeping, evangelising children from pre-school onwards and preparation of lesson plans. Those attending include proprietors, administrators, heads and teachers in Christian, mostly Pentecostal, schools.

The aims and objectives of the Association, formed in 1999, are to share ideas and challenge church leaders, proprietors of schools and teachers to establish Christian schools or transform the existing secular and mission schools into Christian schools in order to impact positively on the young ones entrusted into their care with the power of the Gospel of Christ.

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