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General News of Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Politicians' children must go through Ghana's school system- Yankah

Prof Kwesi Yankah

The head of the Central University Prof Kwesi Yankah is advocating for a law that will compel children of politicians and policy makers to go through Ghana's educational system.

Prof Yankah said on TV3's Agenda program, the politicians cannot toy with the education system of the country only for their children to access quality education in other countries.

He was contributing to the 2016 poor WASSCE results which have sparked debate amongst stakeholders.

Prof Yankah said the 2016 results are no doubt a marginal improvement in the results recorded for last year.

He was particularly impressed with the gains made in Integrated Science which saw a dramatic leap from 23% from last year to 48.5% this year.

English saw a marginal improvement from 50% to 53% Prof Yankah noted.

These marginal increases notwithstanding, the Vice Chancellor of the Central University was unequivocal in his belief that the four year SHS tenure produced the best WASSCE results between 2011 to 2012 until it was reversed to three years by the Atta Mills led NDC government. Not even the marginal improvements recorded in 2016 could match up to the results churned out in the 2011 to 2012, he observed.

"If you look at the analysis or the data of SHS results right from 2006 you will realise that the trend with what we got in 2015 and 2016 is not much of a difference. There is a marginal improvement but if look at the charts, there are two three years within the trajectory that you can find a big jump in the improvement of the results of SHS students and that was 2011 and 2012. These two years, [2011 and 2012] are the years when the four year cohorts took the exams and 2013 was when the mixture.

"There must be something happening within the four year system," he said, adding "Without prejudice to politics we have to look at the data again be careful not to say it is only contact hours we need..."

"How come the Tuobodoms and the Nsabas and the small high schools did much better when they had four years? he asked.

President Mahama only recently suggested that the three year tenure was better but Prof Yankah insisted the figures from the four year tenure tell a different story.

The analysis of the trend indicates that since WASSCE started in 2006, the years 2006 and 2007 recorded the worst performance of 12.5% and 10.6% respectively. Since then there has been a significant improvement in 2012 recording the best performance of 31.2%. The most recent WASSCE in 2016 recorded 24.7%.

"We must swallow our pride as politicians. Let's pay a deaf ear to our politicians. If you live it to them, they are destroying our education. Their children will not be with us but they will compelling us to adopt educational policies that will be inflicting harm on our children," he said.

Dr Prince Armah, Executive Director of VIAM Africa for Education and Social Policy and a panel on the show agreed in part that the increase in contact hours intuitively can bring improved learning outcome. He backed his claim with a 2013 workshop organised by the Oxford University and GES which suggested that an additional year had improved results for pupils.

However, instead of debating a three year, four year controversy, he would rather the country blends the Junior High School to that of the Senior High School and have a continuous six year SHS program.

He said the four months JHS students waste at home, waiting for their results before entering SHS can be used judiciously when the JHS and SHS are blended. He added that some of the topics taught in various subjects at the JHS level are even repeated at the SHS, a situation that will be done away with if both the JHS and SHS are blended.

What it means is that from primary education, a pupil will have a continuous six year SHS education, a comprehensive secondary school system, before entering the university.

Dr Armah said with this comprehensive system, a pupil can offer any subject including vocational and technical education in SHS 4.

This, he noted will even reduce the inferiority complex by students who, under the current situation are forced to do vocational or technical education only when they fail to make it to the university.

He said the six year secondary school will be better if the country improves efficiency and time management.