You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2009 08 14Article 166738

Opinions of Friday, 14 August 2009

Columnist: Hayford, Kwesi Atta-Krufi

What Tettey Enyo said in Parliament

Setting the records straight- What Tettey Enyo said in Parliament on 14/11/2008

On the 2nd of August this year the government announced that it has reverted the Senior High School (SHS) education in the country to three years. According to the Education Minister, Alex Tettey Enyo, who made announcement, the new policy was endorsed as a result of the popular acclamation by participants of the recently held forum on education in the country.

It would be recalled that under President Kufuor’s administration a committee was set up chaired by Prof Anamuah Mensah which recommended an increase in the the number of years for secondary education from three to four. In a bid to fulfill its campaign pledge, the NDC organised a forum, to among other things, suggest the number of years feasible for the Senior High School Education in the country.

The forum did not invite any stake holders in education but was made an invitation to selected party members and sympathizers and by popular acclamation fulfilled what the NDC said they would do in their manifesto. In an interview with Joy News’ the Education Minister Alex Tettey Enyo said cabinet has accepted the report of the educational forum held this year. In a back to front approach he said cabinet had accepted the popular acclamation before it would be presented to Parliament for consideration. The three year policy is supposed to take effect from the beginning of the next academic year- September, 2009. Meanwhile Parliament is not supposed to reconvene until October. So the question is does the Parliament, law making body of Ghana, matter when it comes to NDC laws and policies on education?

In effect this announcement and implementation have all taken place before Cabinet and Parliament got the chance to peruse let alone approve it. The AG did not have the chance to review the legal basis before the announcement was made. To set the records straight in this paper I present to you what the this minister had to say in parliament when the four years policy was being passed into law. He was then the ranking member on education when the bill that contained the four years was presented to Parliament. The Bill went through Second Reading on 14th November 2008 and Hon Tettey Enyo had this to say when he stood up to contribute to the motion on the floor and to say that the Education Bill is long overdue. He explained that the drafting of the Bill had taken almost 10 years to complete and “so it is very necessary that honourable members of this august House to realise the importance of this Bill.” Mr. Tettey-Enyo then dwelt on what he called “the merits of the Bill as the honourable Chairman of your Committee has already enumerated,” and was categorical in his praise for the Bill. He concluded his contribution with following remarks: “We want to make the system creditable and well planned and well managed to be able to attract the support that we require to bring up our educational system to the levels that we are desiring for the country. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I call upon honourable members of his House to support the passage of this important Bill into law.”

This MP-turned Minister had every opportunity to voice his and his party's vehement objection to the 4-year duration contained in the Bill which became law. But on his feet in Parliament, he chose to praise the Bill and urge members to vote for it and he voted for it himself.

In a diabolical and hypocritical move, typical of all deceiving NDC he has suddenly discovered that the NDC Manifesto was against the four year schooling plan it is also interesting to note that the NDC had outdoored its manifesto before the 14th November 2008 second reading. Another NDC MP who spoke in support of the Bill was Hon. Lee Ocran, who was the chairman of NDC's manifesto committee.

The NDC is laying the claim that the 3 years that they are advocating is based on the Anamuah-Mensah report. This is simplistic and patently taken out of context. The Anamuah-Mensah Committee recommended three year but on a strong proviso that that would only work if enough infrastructure and resources were given to the kindergarten, primary and JSS levels. The question is this that; has the government within 8 months completely provided the kind of infrastructure and resources that Anamuah-Mensah was speaking of to justify the 3 years? I don’t think so.

Professor Anamuah-Mensah himself in an interview granted to the Daily Graphic on May 27 of this year (published on myjoyonline) admitted that he did not think that the prerequisites, which he said would ground a 3-year programme, existed. In fact, he pointed out that things were probably worse because as at now, studies showed that only 10% of our basic school kids had sufficient control over literacy and numeracy. In other words, only 10% of the pupils qualify to do the SHS in 3 years.

What the political yoyos who supposedly went to support the “popular acclamation” do not realize is that currently the first year in the SHS is used to consolidate the teaching and learning in the third year of the JHS because the said third year is lost due to preparations for the BECE. The actual SHS curriculum begins to be delivered in the second year and then by the end of the first semester of the third year, SSCE preparations set in. in actual fact therefore there is only one full year used to deliver the 3 year SHS curriculum. This explains why SHS graduates have to sit for the Level 100 before they can be accepted for the proper university degree. It is to avoid this situation that the 4 year programme was introduced. The fact of the matter is that the NDC do not care the quality of education they provide for our children because the poorer the quality of our young learners, the better they widen their electoral base.

So now let us marry the popular acclamation, NDC manifesto, Tettey Enyo’s guts feeling effused in Parliament on 14th November 2008 and what Anamuah Mensah Committee actually meant and what the man himself said to Daily graphic and ask ourselves whether the NDC is not playing politics with our children’s future.

Kwesi Atta-Krufi Hayford

Join our Newsletter