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General News of Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Former Education Minister shoots down calls for 'O' & 'A' level system

A former Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, has said that efforts must be concentrated on improving the current educational system rather considering proposals to reintroduce the former ‘O’ and ‘A’ level system.

According to her, the previous education system also had challenges for which reason it was changed.

She called for caution on the part of government and stakeholders in education in considerations for another educational system.

Speaking on Eyewitness News on Tuesday, the former Education Minister said although the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level system was of a high standard, it was selective.

“Yes, the system we have is not perfect, no system is perfect. The ‘O’ and ‘A’ level [system] was not perfect, so we can grow what we have and make it strong. If we are talking about bringing the old system back, we have the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level system that was very selective and I think we can all return to the statistics. How many children were in primary school then? How many got the chance to write the common entrance? How about the so many of our own children who never had the change at the ‘O’ level? We should speak for them. …If we bring a system that widens the net and brings much more people on board, it is useful for us,” she said.

She added that a study of the trends in the current educational system showed a number of challenges that needed to be addressed to improve the standard. She mentioned that the current system had challenges such as access, equity, and relevance which needs to be tackled.

“Yes, the standards have fallen, we’ve said that often, but why are we not committed to work on this so we know where the specific issues are and then target our interventions?” Naana Opoku Agyemang quizzed.

The Charismatic Bishops’ Conference in a communiqué issued earlier this week, called on the government to reintroduce the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level educational system which according to them, will restore the integrity of formal education in Ghana.

It said the country had been subjected to an inferior form of education through the JHS and SHS for many years.”

The Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, founded by Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, and comprises seasoned Ghanaian clergy, said, “we call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because international universities require our SHS graduates to do a foundational course for a whole year before admitting them to the university proper. Years ago, graduates from secondary schools in Ghana did not have to do such foundational courses because they already had a good foundation.”

“We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because we have reason to doubt the current ability of the WAEC to conduct credible examinations. It is common knowledge that the examinations are flawed with serious leakages, such that many students today do not know how to study unless they have seen leaked papers,” it further said.

But some stakeholders including the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), have described the proposal as unwarranted especially as it is not based on any research, arguing that the current system must be improved to achieve the desired results.