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Opinions of Sunday, 30 May 2021

Columnist: Kwadwo Ye-large

The future of the current basic education system in Ghana is blur - Part 1

Pupils in a classroom Pupils in a classroom

Growth and development of every nation depends largely on the nature and structural makeup of the system of education being run in that particular country.

Gold Coast now Ghana gained her independence from the colonial masters as a result of the quality of educationists we had at the time such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ako Adjei, JB Dunkwa to mention a few. These people were able to transform the knowledge acquired into a meaningful adventure that sought to liberate us from slavery and other acts that did not promote effective development of the Gold Coast at the time.

Education, they say is the key to success/ development is not only about being with peers in school simply because others are there. The key can only be obtained through constant practice of norms and values of the Educational system that reflect in the society we find ourselves.

This calls for effective implementation of quality educational programs, structures and functional long term policies to ensure that the society is not being cheated. For instance, education is like building blocks in which any slight defect on the foundation affects the entire building.

In Ghanaians settings, formal education begins at the lower grade ie, basic level where mastering basic rules and regulations, manners, moral values, obedience as well as judicious use of time and available limited resources are being taught before proceeding to secondary and tertiary levels.

The slightest deviation at the basic level has the tendency of permanently deteriorating the entire system and subsequently affects human capital of the country in the near future. The foundation needs quality materials, experienced personnel, timely provision of the required resources and above all effective supervision to maximize profit.

Anything short of that will render the system weaker than expected. Education is a continuous process which needs to be updated constantly based on acceptable practice to facilitate discovery of theories and principles.

Unfortunately, the Ghana Education Service and Ministry of Education seem to be lost when it comes to facilitating and coordinating the educational system in the right direction.

In 2019, a new curriculum was designed and subsequently introduced which was initially characterized by a week retraining of in-service primary school teachers on the modalities and concepts of the curriculum prior to its implementation in September 2019, under the leadership of Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh; the sector minister and Prof. Opoku Amankwa; the Director-General of GES.

Teachers were promised a prompt supply of teaching and learning materials to ensure its smooth implementation. Series of press releases were made to assure parents and guardians as well as the general public to accept and appreciate the new curriculum. The purpose of the new curriculum is to replace the old system which was described as too bookish.

This curriculum seeks to make learners practically oriented, objective in thinking and be more confident to solve societal problems rather than relying on second hand ideas to deal with immediate situations.

These amongst other things culminated in the extension of closing time from 1:30 pm to between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm to increase contact hours.
This curriculum requires teachers to be mere facilitators only directing learners, observe them do activities leading to the discovery of new theories, carrying out project works to broaden the mindset of learners and engaging in more hands-on work to help reduce graduate unemployment due to the fact that the pupils will acquire vocational skills aside the academics. It involves less writings, discourages end of term exams but more activities are done during instructional period.

Unfortunately, two years down the line teachers of the primary level of the public schools are yet to receive learning materials from the right authorities for proper implementation of the program. The common message of the authority has always been that, the printing of the required materials are in the offing making teachers become the most confused creatures in the middle of this program.

The most disturbing situation is that, teachers have to download pre-prepared lesson notes on NaCCa website and re-write same on their lessons notebooks for vetting which in my humble opinion, a lot still needs to be done. Resource materials need to be given to serve as reference points since our knowledge capacity varies.

The learners do not feel motivated to put up their best because after school, there is absolutely no reading material to complement the classroom work.

To be continued...