A few days ago, news of the nomination of the first Ghanaian for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize since its inception four years ago broke. Prof. Sitsope Enyonam Anku, who is a Mathematics Teacher at Meagasa Mathematics Foundation at Lashibi in Accra, was named among 50 shortlisted from more than 30,000 nominations and applications Worldwide.
It is sad, disappointing and shameful on the part of the Ministry of Education to be associating itself with Prof. Anku for his nomination into the Global Teacher Prize when they have woefully turned a deaf ear his appeals for better educational reforms which will eventually lead to the development of teaching and learning of Mathematics in the country.
Case in point, Prof. Anku in an interview with the Daily Graphic at the closing of the 2016 Mathematics camp which is organized annually by Meagasa Foundation said that “the current educational curriculum must be re-planned to give a full day for the study of key subjects for the full participation of students for them to enjoy and appreciate what they are being taught. There is the need to focus on a few subjects such as English, Mathematics, science and social studies for in-depth studies rather than do many subjects half-baked.”
Is it still not the case that more and more subjects are being introduced year in year out to add to the already existing ones which the students are struggling to comprehend?
Frantically, governments both past and present have done very little towards improving the study of mathematics and its related subjects. Teachers and students struggle to learn due to the simple unavailability of teaching and learning materials.
There are a lot of factors militating against the smooth development of Education and for that matter the teaching and learning of Math and Science in the country. But as it stands currently, the lackadaisical attitude shown by Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education towards shining a light on the development of education in this country is concerned, the future of education will continue its retardation.
The country has seen many educational reviews and reforms since the dawn of independence. However, in spite of all these reviews and reforms, the country has not yet made any meaningful gains in raising the standard of education to any appreciable level, nor had she met any utility objectives. This is really a cause for concern.
Dr. Lord Asamoah stated somewhere in 2005 at the Second quadrennial delegated conference of the shanti Regional Branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers that, “countries that aspire towards high academic standards plan their educational policies in such a way that even village schools are provided with basic amenities like spacious and furnished classrooms, libraries with appropriate books and computers for internet service, neat toilets, feeding and recreational facilities to achieve the basic aims of education of training the mind, the body and the soul to prepare the child to become a responsible adult”.
However, what do we see in our public schools today? Classroom blocks are dilapidated while some do not have furniture. There is lack of textbooks for teachers and pupils as well as lack of library facilities and even common chalk.
One disturbing factor, which is militating against quality education delivery, is the output of the trained professional. As for teacher’s motivation and salary, the least said about it, the better. Governments past and present have made it a common resolution not to consider improving on the working conditions of teachers nationwide. Teachers have become demoralized and disillusioned and have, therefore, not been able to give out what is expected of them.
The danger in such a situation is that, the future of many children with the potential to become lawyers, doctors and engineers could be destroyed through bad teaching at the basic school level.
It would be counterproductive to continue to play politics with the education of the country's youth. A country with large number of uneducated or poorly educated youth, as there is in the country today, as a result of many years of destructive education, would find it difficult to progress economically. Education is regarded as the engine for national development
Quality teaching prepares the nation's workforce that ensures successful implementation of the economic and social programs of a nation. It does not only make it possible for a nation to replenish its ageing human capital, but also enriches its youthful workforce with new, innovative ideas, technologies and skills every dynamic society needs for its economic and social development and survival in a harsh and competitive global market.
Quality human capital represents the greatest asset of every nation because it is the catalyst for every facet of national development. It is, therefore, important for the government to focus its attention on the promotion of the well-being of teachers not only to attract and maintain them in the classrooms but also to encourage young brilliant graduates to take up the teaching profession as a career to ensure quality education delivery in the country.
The ministry of Education in its congratulatory message added that, their outfit is aware that Prof. Anku’s writing, mathematics clubs, camps and national tour have brought practical mathematics to thousands of people. The bigger question is, what has the ministry of Education done in past years beyond the politics of reforms to improve on the quality of education in the country?
As it stands, teachers will continue dedicate their effort to teaching and remain hopeful that it is not a fallacy that their reward is not with governments and people but rather heaven.
It is without doubt that the nomination of Prof. Anku for this Prize would in a long way serve as a motivation for the current generation and many more yet unborn.
It is just at this point to say Ayekoo to all teachers, and a Gargantuan Congratulations Prof. Sitsope Enyonam Anku.
A native of Woe in the Keta Municipality and a Teacher at Tokuroano D/A Primary ‘A’ in the Krachi East District.