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General News of Sunday, 17 February 2008

Source: GNA

Public education system is collapsing- Bishop Lodonu

Have-Etoe (V/R), Feb. 17, GNA- The Bishop of Ho, Most Reverend Francis Lodonu of the Catholic Church, on Saturday said the country's public education system, especially at the basic level was collapsing and needed urgent attention.

He observed that though the system was recording high enrollment, poor academic performance coupled with weak moral standards was making the system retrogressive.

Bishop Lodonu made the observation at an open day to mark the official opening and celebration of the fifth anniversary of Rijnbeek Catholic School complex at Have-Etoe in the Hohoe District. He said the bad situation of the system was evident in the less number of students in public school, who qualify and get admission into well-endowed Senior High Schools.

"Unless one goes through a private school, you could not enter the well endowed Senior Secondary Schools"

"Most of the well endowed Secondary Schools have more than 80 per cent of their students from private schools", Bishop Lodonu stated. He attributed the "failure" of the system to the composition and management of the school's curriculum and called on philosophers, who

proposed and designed the curriculum to go back to the table. Bishop Lodonu, who is the proprietor of the Rijnbeek Catholic Schools complex wondered why the committee, which designed the school's curriculum took out religious and moral education from the curriculum and said such a reform could not stand the test of time. Reverend Monsignor Wynnand Amewowo, Director of the Ho Diocese Social and Retreat Centre of the Church, who delivered the keynote address on the theme " Religious and moral discipline in school and society-Requisites for excellence and development" said education and moral discipline were inseparable.

He explained that religious education is the mother of education and discipline, and justified as a subject in the school curriculum, which aided the growth of young people to maturity so that they could develop self-understanding, good relationship with people and the environment around them.

Monsignor Amewowo said sidelining religion and morality from education was therefore "tantamount to condemning the human person to lack of means to developing himself fully to be human being in the society".

He said education, without religious and moral education, would not promote sound character to create the wealth with which the nation could pursue worthy objectives such as building an admirable society with a high level of cultural development and a stable system of democratic governance and called on stakeholders to look at the school's curriculum once more.

Mrs Olivia Sosu, Volta Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service, said government recognized and appreciated the efforts of religious bodies in building the country's human resource and said government was doing all it could to ensure a holistic development of the sector.

She said the issue of indiscipline among the youth in general and at schools was of great interest to government and called on all stakeholders to help address the cancer.

Mrs Sosu said while the nation waits on government to take another look at the school's curriculum, parents, religious and opinion leaders should spearhead the fight against indiscipline to make the work easier for teachers, saying "undisciplined students are not teachable". Reverend Father Prosper Elorm Kwaku, Headmaster of the School in a report said the School for the past five years recorded 100 per cent passes in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and said the School needed more classrooms and dormitory blocks to accommodate the ever-increasing student population.

Awards were given to hardworking students and staff of the School. Mr Anton Rijnbeek, a Catholic Philanthropist in whose honour the School was named, later presented sports kits and an amount of 7500 euros to the School.

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