General News of Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Cape Coast, Sept.3, GNA - The Director of Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) of the University of Cape Coast, Dr George Oduro, on Wednesday stressed that increased school enrolment does not guarantee quality education.
He therefore called for more training and motivation for teachers as well as well resourced educational institutions, and parents' active involvement in the education of children.
He said it was imperative for all teachers to have special training to enable them deal with children with special needs. Dr Oduro, made the call at a press briefing at Cape Coast to throw light on findings of a research carried out by the IEPA, to help rectify the situation of poor leadership and quality teaching and learning in basic schools.
The research, which is being carried out in three phases, with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) is dubbed "EdQual", (Educational Quality Implementation through School Leadership and Management), and is being undertaken in the Central, Volta, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
He noted that poor performance of some headteachers in basic schools has been identified as the bane of quality basic education delivery, thereby endangering the agenda in pursuit of quality basic education for all children by 2015.
He pointed out that quality basic education, which was crucial to a child's successful transition into responsible adulthood was absent, due to poor leadership training, where the headteachers are concerned. According to him, 76 per cent of the heads interviewed, were found to have received little or no training, and that common strategies employed in addressing leadership challenges were therefore based on trial and error techniques.
He said it was also found that 72 percent had received some training in leadership and management, but that the duration had been between a day and two weeks, and described it as inadequate, considering the magnitude of their tasks, particularly those in the rural areas, who combined supervisory roles with teaching and visiting pupils in the communities.
Dr Oduro said some of the problems found in the southern sector were that most teachers absented themselves on Fridays to attend funerals, while those in the northern sector, undertook religious related engagements on that day resulting in teacher absenteeism. He therefore stressed the need for such headteachers to be empowered to take full leadership control of their schools without undue interference.
Dr Oduro said as far back as 1990, a report by the Commonwealth Secretariat indicated that in sub-Saharan Africa, even though school heads in remote and deprived communities could create an effective educational environment, many of them were overwhelmed by the task, because strategies for training and supporting them were absent. He said in addition, the heads themselves did not see themselves as leaders but custodians of school properties and implementers of government policy and that in Ghana, the problem still persists. According to Dr Oduro, the first phase, involved brainstorming workshops for 240 public school headteachers from 12 districts in the six regions, while the second phase focused on baseline study where data was collected from 60 headteachers in three regions, Central, Northern and Brong-Ahafo Regions.
Dr Oduro said the third phase was on-going, and involves the training of 60 headteachers to undertake research in their schools to find out some of the basic problems confronting the pupils and staff that hindered effective teaching and learning, for redress. Touching on some of the issues that emerged during the research, Dr Albert Dare, former director of the IEPA said the capitation grant had resulted in congested classrooms, and for instance at a school in Twemea- Nkwanta in Techiman in the Brong-Ahafo Region, a teacher had to sit outside the class because of lack of space.