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General News of Thursday, 26 February 2015


Ghana's education has retrogressed badly – Expert

Educationist, Anis Haffar, says the quality of education in Ghana has progressively and consistently retrogressed to alarming levels.

He said lofty speeches by politicians and public officials have done little to bring about fundamental changes in the structure of the country's education system.

He expressed regret that the public education system had been left in a sorry state.

"Had we made education a priority, public schools will not be sitting in the dust," he told Joy FM's Super Morning Show Tuesday. He was discussing the state of the nation's educational system.

"I was 10 years when Ghana became independent in 1957 and I've seen some deterioration. For example, I was in a ‘syto' (public) school in Kumasi and from a syto school I could go to Mfatsipim, these days you can't do that and when you visit any of the public schools, they are in a deplorable state," he said.

The youth, he argued, are the victims of the degradation of the educational system because the knowledge they are acquiring from the country's schools is not equipping them enough to aspire to greatness.

He said although the most important level in every nation's educational system is the elementary level, the situation in Ghana appears to be different.

"In other countries, some of the most qualified people teach in elementary school – from class one all the way to JHS (Junior High School) - but here in this country, we've done the opposite, we just dump people anywhere," he explained.

The situation must change, he insisted.

He said growing up even under a colonial rule, he could read, write and speak Twi as well as English Language by the time he left Class One.

"The expertise of the teachers was paramount and supervision was key," he stated.

But according to him, today, the situation is completely different.

Education reform on a large scale, he said, is urgently needed and "there must be a mass promotion of education, not just speeches." Mr. Haffar said any reform must start with how teachers are trained in the country.

Beyond that, the current situation where academic achievement is placed over and above technical education must be reversed.

He said: "Here we spend too much time sitting behind desks, writing and reading and answering questions, that is an aspect of education but that is not what drives human beings, what drives human beings is what I call the assertive competencies of functional abilities.

"For example, how does someone, after being in school for 16 years, come out and they are unemployed. We have a sitting culture.The bigger picture has to be clear. If you pass an exam it's an indicator, it's not an accomplishment. Our perception is very narrow."

Mr Haffer said Ghana's educational system must do more for the youth of the country.

"We have to begin to understand that we can do better with our kids. We need to be efficient in the delivery of instructions, every course taught at the university must have a website," he suggested.

According Anis Haffar, the country must rethink the current system where thousands of students are only made to sit through long lectures. He insists that would starve the country's youth of their productive capacity.