Feature Article of Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Columnist: Robert, Ali Tanti
The country’s educational system has undergone several changes since independence. However these changes have been largely evanescent; not touching on the core problems faced by the sector.
The recent debate in the country about funding, quality teacher training and the number of years of Senior High education must not be left entirely in the hands of Politicians.
It appears to me that the core problem threatening the standard of education is always missing in our discourse because experts and technocrats are always left out in such discussions. It interesting to always hear Radio Panelist from different political parties contributing to discussions on education to satisfy their whims. Politicians have gradually turned our education into a remote controlled robot. A committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 classified educational goals into three namely cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Popularly known as Blooms taxonomy it is described as Knowing, feeling and doing. Targeting all these aspects of the individual will produce an educated person who will appreciate values and also have the necessary skills in his field of jurisdiction. Such a person may also have a good analytical skills and able to transcend knowledge into practice. Again going by this standard, the child is assessed by his knowledge, skills and his appreciation of events before a judgement is passed on his performance. Devoid of politics our education should be tailored to equip people with proper practicum skills that will make them self sustain even if they are not able to continue at a certain point of the educational ladder. A renowned lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba’s department of Psychology and Education Dr.George Kankam once said for a standard test to give a better picture of an individual it must be used with other non test techniques such as observation and sociometry to give a better understanding of one’s performance. This is to prevent us from giving wrong judgement about individuals based on single exams. It is not fair for us to tag students as getting zero percent because they fail BECE exams and that no placement for them. Does it mean that that from kindergarten to JHS three these students did not learn anything and therefore are not worthy to immediately further their education? Today we have had many of these children ending up on our streets. It will surprise many of us that among those who had zero percent are our future engineers, contractors and the likes. The major problem of these children may be expressing themselves in English and converting their thoughts into writing. Nevertheless we have seen foreigners in this country who cannot speak good English but are constructing our roads. Today there are people who speak very good English but are incompetent in their field of jurisdiction. Our young people must be rather encouraged and managed through proper measurement and institutions so that they become agents of social change. This will build in them patriotic spirit which many people lack today. As a country we should have hope in this generation so that we don’t mess up their lives. Government must quickly initiate action to place those who are not able to make the transition to Senior High School into technical and vocational schools, whiles those bent on learning a trade are also placed in skill development canters. I am aware that the National Youth Authority has over eleven training centers across the country which can absorb a lot of these students as part of the placement.
In addition, teachers must be trained properly in assessing the non test aspect of their students so that it will be factored into children’s overall assessment and must be tasked to study students closely and have a confidential report on each child which would be factored into their general assessment. Government must do all that it can to institute measures to accommodate all basic students who complete their education
BY ALI TANTI ROBERT
AMUDURASE D/A JHS