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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Columnist: Okota-Wilson Nicholas

If a subject is not relevant, just take it off the timetable

The picture is painted from the top to show that some subjects are very much more important than others. Before a teacher is qualified for study leave with pay, then that teacher is going to study the ‘almighty’ Mathematics, a science program, the languages, Special Needs education or the new kid on the block Computer Science.

Apart from any of these programs, one will not get study leave with pay. So among the teaching fraternity, there is much regard for some subject teachers than others. Teachers teaching subjects like Mathematics, Science, English and Information and Communication Technology in the basic schools tend to look down on other teachers teaching other subjects.

They talk ill about subjects like Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Physical Education, Catering among others even to students they are teaching.

This situation is forcing teachers who wish to further their education and upgrade their knowledge in the universities, apply and study programs they do not have the background, interest and even the competence to teach.

Some universities in Ghana offer teachers with Diploma in Basic Education the opportunity to further their studies in programs like B.Ed Mathematics, B.Ed Social Studies, B.Ed Accounting, B.Ed Computer Science,B.Ed English Language among others. Because of the preferential treatment given to some teachers teaching some subjects, most teachers are studying programs just for the certificate.

After all, having the certificate will earn you that respect from colleagues and the society. For instance, someone who studied Home Economics at the Senior Secondary/High School, continued with Early Childhood Education at the College of Education will now be studying B.Ed Mathematics at the university because of the attitude of education officers and some teachers towards the teaching of some subjects and classes like the kindergarten.

This teacher graduates with a certificate in Mathematics education but cannot teach the subject at the Senior High School and even at the Junior High School. Students will be suffering at the long run.

Teachers are on some post diploma programs just because of the ‘marketability’ of the subjects. Teachers do not take into consideration their interest, background and the competency to teach the subject. Even society tend to show more respect to teachers teaching subjects like Mathematics and English Language because they deem it as ‘difficult’.

It becomes worse for the one teaching at the kindergarten. To earn this respect makes some teachers enrol in some programs. For some too, they do it because friends are doing it. Others too, they just want to teach at the Senior High School or avoid going to the primary school.

Teachers teaching English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science are deemed the most important assets in schools. If a subject is not relevant why not take it off the table. Each subject has it role and requires qualified and competent teachers in that area of study to teach it but it is made as if any teacher can teach Social Studies and any other subject apart from English, Maths and Science.

A subject like Religious and Moral Education helps develop religious tolerance among pupils which in the long run helps promote and sustain the country’s peace and unity. You cannot place anybody there to teach it for fear of indoctrination and religious conditioning.

Take Social Studies, it will be different reading and explaining terms for students from guiding them appreciate and demonstrate the relevant knowledge, desired attitudes and values needed for the development of the individual, community and country.

Visual Arts and Home Economics also help develop students’ aptitude and psycho motor skills but look at how some teachers treat students on such programs. If we treat all subjects with respect, the subject teachers will also enjoy same respect and opportunities.

English, Mathematics and Science are not the only subjects on the timetable. The system is partly to be blamed for this. Why honour certain subjects above others? Give teachers equal opportunity to upgrade themselves. Study leave with pay should not be dependent on the subject one teaches. Each and every subject is important.

Other subject teachers should not be enjoying incentives and preferential treatment whiles others do not. Currently, granting of a teacher’s transfer request to another school is dependent on the teaching of Mathematics, Science and ICT as if anyone can teach the rest of the subjects. Associations are being formed for only English, Maths and Science teachers.

Textbooks supplied are only for English, Maths and Science. National quiz competitions are in these subjects. What picture are we painting to students? Some teachers make students studying Home Economics, Visual Arts, and Technical among others, feel as if the subjects they are studying are irrelevant.

We need a change in attitude towards some subjects. It is because they are important that is why they are still on the timetable. Let us accord each with the needed respect.

Okota-Wilson Nicholas 233 541 55 68 58