Cape Coast Feb. 12, GNA - The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, on Saturday said the government had put in place a new educational reform policy which emphasised integrated knowledge and practice to drive the nation's vision for attaining a middle income status by 2015. He said the major priority of the development agenda of the government was its human resource development and that it would endeavour to produce human resources appropriate to the level of development through enhanced vocational, technical and agricultural training as well as exposure to information communication technology. Alhaji Mahama said this in a speech read for him at the 169th speech and prize giving day of Wesley Girls High school at Cape Coast, on the theme: "Raising Informed and Disciplined Women of Integrity: our Hope for Peace, Progress and prosperity".
The day also coincided with the launch of the 170th anniversary celebration of the School, which was founded in September 1836. He said a number of measures including the introduction of the capitation grant into the basic education system, upgrading of facilities in selected senior secondary schools in all the districts as well as incentives for teachers had been put in place as government's policy of bringing fairness into the education system and also to develop the right human resource base.
Alhaji Mahama said work on the first phase of 31 selected senior secondary schools was on-going and had reached over 70 percent state of completion whiles the second phase comprising the upgrading of 25 schools would also commence this year, adding that equal attention was also being paid to teacher training facilities and the provision of equipment and learning materials.
He, however, noted that in spite of the government's good intentions, it could not fully fund education in the country, since quality education ought to be a collective responsibility and challenged parents, teachers and old students as well as concerned members of the community to also play their part.
He urged Parent Teacher Associations and old students to continue to play significant roles in the development of schools but cautioned that that such efforts should not result in financial barriers to less endowed parents.
On indiscipline, he said the government was concerned about the spate of indiscipline in second cycle schools, adding "we are witnessing various acts of indiscipline and bad behaviour of students inside and outside schools such as bullying, drug abuse, truancy, flouting school dress codes, examination malpractice and causing nuisance to other students."
The Vice-President was unhappy that there were instances some parents and staff members supported students to defy schools authorities and noted that parents had the biggest single influence on their wards' lives and were their children's prime educators.
He appealed to all to support government's campaign for greater discipline so that the indiscipline in all its manifestation could be eradicated from the society to make it possible to create wealth and become a middle-income country.
Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, lecturer at the University of Ghana, who was the guest speaker, underscored the socio-economic importance of education of the girl-child and was happy that more girls were now in higher institutions of learning.
She said trends in female enrolment for higher education for the past years had been encouraging and that in the University of Ghana in 1984 the percentage of male enrolment was 80 percent as against 20 percent females and that the last academic year admission rate for female in the humanities rose to 42.1 percent against 63.4 for males and that in the sciences 36.6 for females against 63.4 males. Prof. Ardayfio-Schandorf further said in the new Engineering Faculty of the University the admission rate of females surpassed those of the males by far standing at 80.6 percent for females against 19.4 for males.
She commended the government for the Science, Technology and Mathematic Education (STME) clinics for girls stressing that the participation of girls in the clinics was a positive achievement since many girls now opted for science courses.
Prof. Ardayfio-Schandorf noted that many more girls aspired for higher education but were barred by the lack of sponsorship by parents who preferred to educate their boys and suggested that a scholarship programme targeted at females in higher education should be set up. She said such scholarship should be developed by the government, district assemblies, institutions, corporate bodies and NGOs as well as communities for brilliant and promising girls.
Mrs Betty Djokoto, Headmistress, commended the pioneers of the school who had made it possible to produce women now in high positions both at home and abroad who were contributing meaningfully towards the development of the nation.
She also commended the present teaching staff for their commitment to duty since they did not join their colleague who went on strike before the last Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations and that as a result the school recorded the most outstanding results in its history. Five students obtained eight straight grade "A" as against the previous year when 19 attained 7 A's and 1B.
The school presented 403 candidates and 399 passed in all eight subjects and as a result the school moved from 99.74 percent passes overall to 99.88 reducing the number of failures in the entire examination to only four.
She said the school's vision was to attain an "F" free result in the 2006 WASC examination.
Mrs Djokoto, however, expressed concern about the teething problems of the computerized selections and placement system and that the school had taken on board the challenges that the system brought and would strive to do its best for those who found the secondary school course too demanding.
She urged the Ministry of education and Ghana Education Service to make the system transparent, fair and not open to manipulation. On the start of the WASC examination in April this year she suggested that the timing and content of the SSS programme be reviewed as soon as possible to ensure effective teaching and learning since the students would now use two and half years instead of three years to complete their syllabus.
Earlier, Reverend, Isaac Quansah, Bishop of the Cape Coast diocese of the Methodist Church inaugurated a 1.8 billion cedi four-story building consisting of eight flats for teachers. The PTA funded the project, which was started in 2001 and completed this year.
The school's 1985 year group which sponsored the speech day also presented a double cabin pick-up valued at 170 million cedis, a generator worth 17.5 million cedis and 200 bags of cement to be used for on going projects in the school. The Vice president asked the school to select a project of its choice valued at 500 million to be funded by the GETFund and also made a personal donation of 20 million towards development in the school. Deserving students and staff were presented with awards. 12 Feb. 06