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27.09.2019 Feature Article

'Who' Cares For 'What'? : A Case Of Our Kindergarten Education

'Who' Cares For 'What'? : A Case Of Our Kindergarten Education
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The success story of every institution rest entirely on how its foundation was erected. The human resource capacity of most, if not all of these developed countries have been arguably, a direct fruit of how their education at the lower level is managed. The emphasis they place on the upbringing of the young ones is just unparalleled. However, amidst all the struggles in the developing countries to improve upon their human resource development, they still manage their kindergarten education poorly, though it has proven to be one of the surest ways to sustainable development.

Despite this being a scenario in almost all developing countries, I would gladly zero in on my Country, Ghana. My government through these years, have fought and lost many battles of our economy to the private sector. It is therefore natural that, one become worried and suspicious of what looks like another lost battle on the part of my government. One need not to speak rhetorically, Ghana's kindergarten education is the battle that is under-discussed.

Has anyone noticed the deterioration of kindergarten education in the public schools against that of, the continued improvement in the private schools? Or perhaps, I am only seeing this in my town of residence?... I believe not! It is a canker that is noticeable in almost all parts of our country. I have been forced to live with the impression that, my government had leased out the management of kindergarten education to the private sector and accordingly criminalized the public schools operations in that sector. Regrettably, I am yet to be convinced otherwise.

I was assured that, it was a shared heartache of a situation, when a wise man I chanced up on complained, though as a wisecrack. He said, "...why should a woman forsake the porridge she prepared herself, just to go in for a porridge prepared by another woman?..." His remarks almost pull a tear from my eyes. I did not ask for any explanation to this wisecrack, but confidently, I supposed he painted the sad picture of teachers in the public schools, who themselves enrolled their wards in the private kindergartens. Do they doubt the quality of their own delivery or they doubt government's commitment to improving public kindergarten education. Any answer or answers to these questions will only resonate our unseriousness as a country.

We mostly sweep under the carpet, the woeful upbringing of our kids at the government kindergartens, but hypocritically, we blame our basic schools for their poor performance. Forgetting that, our basic schools only polish what was served them by our early schools. Early childhood education in my country is now sadly synonymous to endless play. When in other serious countries, the essential values of our existence are learnt there. Why? What is the secret? Why are the SHS leavers performing better than fully trained teachers when it comes to instructional delivery at our kindergartens?

The kindergarten I attended, Nuria Islamic, it is called. None of our kindergarten teachers enrolled their kids among us. It was not our portion to see or not see that as a problem, but I tell u, if I were my father, my son would not have attended a kindergarten to be taught by a teacher who lost hope in his or her ability to teach. It is not a question of why we do not attend the same school as the children of our teachers, but it is a question of why they, our teachers enroll their kids in private schools, when they are infact, more qualified than the instructors there... Why?

They cannot use the cost factor to back their decisions to forsake the government kindergartens, for it is public knowledge how costly those private kindergartens are. Off course, they could tell us it is because of the quality of instructional delivery in the private schools, but then, they will be calling themselves failures, though indirectly. They cannot say, it is because of how those schools are administered and managed, for they will have to admit to mismanaging our government kindergartens first...So I am still asking, why?

But our teachers in these schools only contribute half to this problem of ours, the remainder comes from supervision.

Do they supervise operations at these kindergartens at all? Are we even sure Ghana education service still regard these areas as essential as any stage of our educational life? I mean, who supervises these kindergartens at all?

If you are privileged to have paid a visit to any of the public kindergartens, you would agree with me that, whoever is responsible to the supervision of the instructors there, is perhaps not aware he was appointed to do so.

So does this mean we, as parents are faultless in this regard? Off course not! Though we are not part of those who engineered this problem. Neither do we form part of those who are fighting to solve it. Alas, we are arguably part of those who seamlessly perpetuate this situation. In our darkened minds as Ghanaians, almost all costly things are labelled as quality things. So we prefer to pay the hefty monthly fees at these private kindergartens, than to enroll our kids freely in the government ones. We ignorantly forsake the early childhood education of our children... We, more often than not, regard it as 'a play ground' more than the kids themselves would.

When we take comfort in blaming everything on the government of the day, we indifferently deny ourselves the opportunity of seeing the apparent gaps in our way of thinking and attitudes. When we place less value on state owned properties, then we are ignorantly devaluing ourselves as an integral part of the state.When we play with the 'nows' of our children, we are consciously playing with their 'futures'...Our public enterprises are everything we make them. So, their persistent delivery of low quality vis-a-vis the private ones, is a dilemma we cannot disassociate ourselves from. The change we all cry for is us before anyone at the helm of affairs of our country. We are responsible individually, before they are responsible collectively!

- Adam Thualethu Uthamah

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Adam Thualethu Uthamah
Adam Thualethu Uthamah, © 2019

A humanist and an Afro-optimist who believes Ghana should have been way better... Column: AdamThualethuUthamah

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