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Opinions of Monday, 5 November 2018

Columnist: Robert Abalungo (Bob Bright)

Untapped potentials: Academic qualification bias in Ghana

I do not intend to seek cheap attention with this write-up, but I certainly feel that I have the right to speak my mind about certain erroneous decisions made by our educational stakeholders which have wreaked havoc on educational standards in our society.

What do I mean? Well, painfully, it is so sad to admit that university graduates are one of the most underutilized useful products in our Ghanaian society. In order not to mince words, graduates who hold non-educational degrees are termed, nonprofessional teachers.

This wrongful, meaningless and unwarranted terminology has been used to unfairly tag university graduates from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana, University of Development Studies and several others for so long.

With this kind of inconclusive thinking, how do we progress as a nation? With such labels of unprofessionalism associated with university graduates who hold non-education degrees or B. Ed, it makes educational authorities disinterested in employing graduates who hold Bachelor of Science degrees, Bachelor of Art degrees and similar others. This is pure academic qualification racism and it is completely counterintuitive.

Let me boastfully brag here that university graduates who did not go to Winneba or Cape Coast to do top-up programs in education are fully qualified and competent to teach at the basic and secondary levels. What is so difficult about teaching at the basic and second cycle institutions that graduates who were taught by professors, doctors and more experienced academics are deemed as unqualified or unprofessional to teach. Oh my God! This is shear injustice.

Who made these discriminatory decisions which have deprived more qualified individuals from contributing their quota to uplifting educational standards? No wonder year by year, the results coming from the WASSCE and BECE are on a downward spiral and we sit down and wonder.

I can personally cite several instances where non-educational degree holders have proven themselves as more competent and abled academicians. The fact is that graduates from KNUST, UDS, UG and similar others have studied and completed more complex academic courses for four years or more and gained in-depth knowledge in several fields to deliver anywhere anytime, but their potential has been untapped and underrated for so long. For example, I have a BSc Physics degree from KNUST and during my four-year stay at KNUST, I studied tedious courses such as Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Physical Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Digital and Analogue Electronics, Mathematics for Physics and countless others.

I am currently doing my national service at a certain SHS in Koforidua and my students understand my subjects very well. I did not do education but I am able to deliver academically. Why should I do a sandwich program at UCC or Winneba before being accepted as a professional teacher? What don’t we know? Is it the long stories about educational philosophies or teaching and learning materials?

Please let us change certain educational policies which hinder progress, as a nation seeking development.

I draw the curtains here with the hope that these messages reach all stakeholders.

Disclaimer: This message does not seek to undermine or question the abilities of students who did education programs. The message is decrying the christening of unprofessional associated with graduates who did not study education programs. Please share it