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17.11.2005 General News

Professor Djangmah calls for open colleges

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Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Professor Jerome Djangmah, an education consultant, on Wednesday advocated for countrywide "open or community colleges" to provide education and training for students who pass out from Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary schools but who do not enroll for further formal studies.

He said open colleges, accepted by the Government's White Paper on the President's Education Reforms Review Committee, would provide technical and professional education and employment in business, commerce and industry.

Prof. Djangmah, who is a former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) made the suggestion in Accra in a paper titled, "How Adequate is Our Educational System?" as part of the 46th Annual Founders Week celebration of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS).

The celebration is on the broad theme: "From Stability to Growth: Challenges of National Development." Prof. Djangmah said the establishment of open colleges must be a shared vision among government, industry, commerce, industry and the churches.

He said open colleges might be a faster way for the churches to go into the development of tertiary education, and their universities might be better rooted on a strong foundation in further education and training for the mass of young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who desperately needed them.

The open college would have flexible admission requirements and admit people for remedial programmes, as well as provide continuing education to upgrade the skills of workers.

The colleges would be community-based, non-residential and offer accredited diplomas to allow transfers to polytechnics and universities if necessary.

Prof. Djangmah described as large criminal waste of human resources the majority of former JSS and SSS who did not enter any form of further training.

He said the nation churned out 290,000 JSS graduates, but about only 30 per cent enrolled for further formal education. Prof. Djangmah identified four zones of exclusion of children from basic education: children who do not attend school at all, children who drop out of school before completing Primary Six, children who do not attend school regularly and would drop out without some attention to their hunger, chronic ailment, poor performance and daily drudgery of going to school, and children who drop out between Primary Six and JSS Three.

According to Prof. Djangmah, nine years of basic education were too long to teach reading, writing and numeracy, saying poverty in many rural communities had frustrated the realisation of the objectives of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education.

He called for research to identify the poor and deprived communities where intervention measures as the recent capitation grant would be more selectively applied to make more impact.

Dr Esi Sutherland-Addy, Senor Research Fellow of the Institute of African Studies, in a paper titled "Educational Reforms and Our Developmental Goals" noted that many of education reforms in Ghana had not been fully implemented and had trailed off after the experimental stage.

This, she said, was due to insufficient commitment to the policy by the managing technocrats, lack of resources or they were simply abandoned by an incoming government for differences in ideologies. Dr Sutherland-Addy said while gross enrolments in primary schools rose from 67 per cent in 1987/88 to 82 per cent in 1979, the corresponding targets in quality were uneven and could only be satisfactory where pre-requisites were in place.

She called for an innovative approach to motivation and supervision of educationists by their peers, government and the society. It would be recalled that, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning presenting the 2006 Budget Statement to Parliament last Thursday, announced that the Government had approved the establishment of the Open University in the country.

He said arrangements were already underway for the establishment of the University in the Greater Accra Region to provide avenues for a large number of qualified applicants who do not gain admission into universities and other tertiary institutions due to inadequate facilities. 17 Nov. 05

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