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General News of Friday, 29 June 2007

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

New Education Reform Programme in Jeopardy?

THE NEW Education Reform Programme, which introduces new structures in the country's educational system at various levels, would be a fiasco if pragmatic effects were not put in place for its smooth take-off from next September.

With barely two months to the take-of, of the reform programme, Members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have categorically stated that they were not prepared adequately enough for the smooth kick-off of the programme.

According to the Upper East Regional Secretary of GNAT, Mr. Linus Attey Cofie, rounds conducted by the Association in most schools in the Region have revealed that teachers do not have fertile knowledge as far as the yet to be implemented reforms were concerned.

"I can say for sure that teachers are not prepared, because during our rounds to the schools, we try to question teachers about the new reforms and actually they tell us that they know next to nothing about the main tenants of the reforms. So it means that there is much work to be done before the implementation, he stated.

"Teachers are the main implementers and if the implementers are not fully prepared for the programme, then it means that we may start on a wrong footing", Mr. Attey added.

Describing the reforms as major ones, the Regional GNAT Secretary said his Members expected that much time would have been given for consensus building and defining of roles that teachers would have been expected to play in the new reforms. He noted that this would have also spelt out the roles of parents, assemblies and the entire major stakeholders concerned in the education for easy implementation.

He observed that even if GNAT alone was well aware as a major stakeholder without parents, assemblies and other major stakeholders, and it was the duty of GNAT to get others schooled on the reforms, the whole system was still not set to take-off.

Mr. Attey, who said this in an excusive interview with The Chronicle said some of the teachers were also of the view that the four-year programme for the Senior High School (SHS), formally Senior Secondary School (SSS) was not the best with the core reason that, they were getting used the to the system of three years.

When asked who was to be blamed for not putting earlier measures for the reforms, Mr. Attey said, "It would be difficult to single out one person to say he should bear the blame but I think there is a problem which must be solved."

He maintained that since the launch of the programme on April 11, 2007 by President J. A Kufuor, much could have been done by policy makers, the GES and the Ministry of Education for effective implementation of the programme.

He said while the GES and the Ministry of Education were responsible for implementation process, GNAT was responsible for supporting its Members and preparing them to do the grounds work.

Mr. Attey said though the Association was invited to make recommendations that were input into the new system by pointing out certain vital areas to policy makers, the time frame for the take-off of the programme was too short.

He however lauded the idea of the reforms and called for vigorous orientations and sensitization workshops and programmes for teachers to clearly understand the new structure and its content.

He said the leadership of GNAT has called for increment in enrollment of teachers at the University College of Education, Winneba and the University of Cape Coast to enable the cert "A" Teachers acquire diploma in education which is now the minimum qualification for teachers in Ghana.

Mr. Attey urged teachers to reorganize themselves in delivery of methodology since the reforms demand a lot of preparations from them. He also advised them to take advantage of all the short causes and programmes that would be organized for them to improve upon their teaching skills.

He however gave the assurance that the association was solidly behind the GES and the ministry of education to ensure the smooth take-off of the programme despite the limited time frame.

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