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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Columnist: Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang

Time to review Ghana's educational curriculum

A critical observation of our country's basic school curriculum shows that enough opportunities have not been created to identify, harness, and more importantly, maximize the talents and potentials of individual children for national development. This probably has accounted for the spate of street children and its attendant problems of armed robbery, poor sanitation, unemployment, among others in Ghana.

Ghana's education system continues to thrive on the traditional view of intelligence; where the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is used by our teachers as a measure of aptitude for academic achievement. This has resulted in the total neglect of children whose IQs are below average, and especially those who excel in other fields like sports, art, drama and cooking. This system portrays intelligence as a single entity and I see this as a major defect in Ghana's education system.

Why should pupils who cannot cope with such IQ tests get dismissed, or repeated in class, and end up as school drop-outs? Are we saying those children are less human? If the answer to the above question is 'No', then it is imperative for the government to make reforms in the education sector to make it more relevant to our needs.

Ghana needs solutions to her poor sanitation, unemployment, food and energy crises. The country needs to develop her rich human resource to fight corruption, minimize social vices, embark on massive industrialization, and add value to her products. This could be done by widening the professional net to encompass others who make huge contributions to the country's economy - the designers, footballers, athletes, traders, businessmen, farmers, cobblers, among others. It must be noted that in real life situations, it is impossible for everybody's aspirations to be met. It is not everybody who could aspire to be a lawyer, or an engineer irrespective of the opportunity that might be at his or her disposal.

Therefore, fashioning out an educational policy to cater for drivers, painters, designers, traders, musicians, comedians etc, by expanding the traditional notion based on IQ testing to account for a broader range of human potential, that is, the affective and psychomotor domains of the individual could address the unemployment problem of the youth.

In one of his recent public lectures on the “State of Ghana's Economy”, the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Bawumia had this to say; “We have to build a country in which none will be denied the opportunities for maximising his/her God-given potential”. Dr. Bawumia's assertion was in support of the fact that, over reliance on external examination, in this sense, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), should not determine the destiny of millions of our pupils.

I would therefore appeal to the stakeholders of education - government, Curriculum Research and Development Division (CRDD), GES, Ministry of Education, teachers etc to review the curriculum and partner the private sector in nurturing and developing the skills of our kids for national development.

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