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General News of Thursday, 4 November 2004

Source: GNA

New education system to kick-start by 2007/8

Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - The proposed new education system is to take-off in all schools in the country by the 2007/8 academic year, government announced on Thursday.

A government white paper on the report of the Education Reform Committee set up by the President to review the country's education system said the reforms at all levels were expected to become fully operational by 2015.

The reforms will create a system comprising two-year kindergarten, six years of primary and first three years of Junior High School to be followed by a four-year Senior High School programme.

Launching the paper, Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, said based on the recommendation of the Committee, government had decided that every child would have 11 continuous years of compulsory basic education and four years of high school programme.

The junior high level would aim to consolidate young people's grounding in the basics of numeracy and literacy, including computer literacy. They would also be schooled in civic-social responsibility and be prepared to receive the next stage of Senior High School instruction. Mr. Mensah said unlike the present Junior Secondary School system, which served as a terminal point for most pupil, the Junior High School would become an entry stage for a comprehensive system for Senior High School training in vocational, technical, agricultural and general education and a structured apprenticeship.

He said government would assume full responsibility for the first years of a much-structured system of apprenticeship/skills training for Junior High School leavers who are unable to enter Senior High School. Mr. Mensah noted that government would ensure the establishment of an open university to provide avenues for work-study programmes and life-long education.

He said that it would not be cheap to implement the new system but added, "We cannot skimp on education, we want to build a better society".

" The current system has woefully failed the nation and has resulted in the production of half-baked graduates who cannot adopt to changes in the world".

Mr. Mensah said since the system would require competent teachers to effectively deliver government had taken steps to provide professionally trained and suitably motivated teachers.

He said already the transformation of the training colleges had begun and would eventually culminate into their full absorption into the Tertiary Education system of the country.

Mr Mensah said it was envisaged that by 2015 all levels of the reformed system should be staffed with professionally trained teachers. He said additionally government had proposed a wide exemption of the educational sector from the compulsory retiring age of 60 years. He said about 16,000 classrooms were without teachers and those who were presently over 60 years were being asked to stay to augment the system.

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