The educational institution is a living thing. It grows, changes form bears fruits etc. Education is like a woman hence so dynamic. When you treat her right, you will never know sadness. Though men change, women or females undergo more dramatic changes in life.
As they grow from girls to adolescents and to women, one notable change is the change in physical features which necessitate change in clothes. The demands of education as the years pass require certain changes in subjects just as the case of the female. If you ask me about Ghana in the context of this analogy, I would say Ghana is a 62year old woman wearing high school girls’ clothes, if diapers will be too ridiculous.
The present core subjects have served Ghana wonderfully for the past years. As beginners in civilisation and independence, we needed them to cover our bottom for international endeavours and to find our feet as a nation. However, like diapers, I think some of the subjects have outlived their usefulness to us as a country at sixty-two years. The earlier we thank them, break ties with them as core subjects and embrace new and more versatile ones as our present state demands, the better for us.
Ghana needed more people to work in the formal sectors as teachers, lawyers, bankers, nurses, doctors, etc. Hence there was every need for the present core subjects. We have reached an era that clearly indicates that the formal sectors or offices are choked. We have high and increasing rate of unemployment as evidence. We also import lots of things including toothpick which we could produce on our own. Besides, industries complain of lack of practical knowledge among graduates which makes them unsuitable for employment. This era therefore demands crucial industrial know how which we seriously lack as a country. Thus the situation we are in is that we have more of the knowledge we do not need and little of what we really need in this era. Referring back to the dressing analogy, Ghana is an elderly woman, a retiree who has little of retiree attire and services but more of an adolescent’s. Hence, what we need now is a change of the stock in the wardrobe.
Since we need more technical and vocational services in our country today, it will be better to make technical and vocational courses the core and rather make the highly impractical ones electives. If we choose technical and vocational courses as core, students after JHS and SHS will have knowledge in something practical to earn income for themselves or the nation. For instance, if we make Clothing and Textiles a core subject, a good number of students after completing JHS and SHS maybe able to sew smocks, weave kente, dye cloths etc to serve Ghana and other countries.
We may maintain English Language as a core subject because it is our lingual franca. Almost all subjects are taught in English hence it can be maintained as core for the sake of teaching, international and national communication. If we had a Ghanaian language as an official language, I would not recommend English as a core subject since its importance would have been more internationally based and it is not everybody who maybe interested in international affairs. It could thus be an elective like French and other foreign languages studied in schools.
Introducing industrial courses as core subjects will even go a long way to help students make early and informed decisions regarding what they want to be. The current system does give children enough experience on technical and vocational courses hence majority of them do not take interest in technical and vocational education. If the core subjects cannot be changed at all, some practical courses should be added to the current core subjects so as to make students versatile in this country.
Sadly, formal education is gradually making us incapable through the subjects taught in schools. It is high time we looked at our needs again as a country and our culture and adjusted the subjects to suit our needs. What was good for yesterday may not serve our purpose today.
Faustina Tantie 0207862185/ 0554878434
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