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Regional News of Thursday, 18 April 2019


Degree holders dominate basic schools but results still poor - MCE

The Nkwanta South Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. John Thasun, has expressed concern over the poor performance of students at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), despite the fact that diploma and graduate teachers are teaching these children. He has, therefore, called for a research into the cause of the problem.

The Nkwanta South MCE was addressing stakeholders in education at an emergency meeting at Nkwanta in the Oti Region to deliberate and find the causes leading to such abysmal performances.

According to the MCE, some schools scored zero percent in the Municipality, a development that must not be countenanced in future.

“I cannot understand the situation, where in almost all public schools – from basic to secondary – they have first degree and masters holders, but the standard of education continues to fall,” he said.

According to the MCE, during his days in the then Middle School, pupil teachers dominated the classrooms, yet students passed their exams, but now that trained teachers and degree holders have taken over, the performance is rather going down.

He wondered why some private schools handled by pupil teachers continue to perform well, but government-assisted schools with qualified teachers are rather performing poorly.

Mr. Thasun stressed that governments have promoted the education system over the years, and the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has also been creating opportunities for all children of school-going age to take advantage of by studying hard to become responsible adults in future.

The Nkwanta South MCE noted that there are trained and degree holders in all government schools, and in most cases, some of the schools are even over staffed, yet the performance is still poor.

“So what is the problem? If we do not strategise today to ensure better results in the future, this meeting would not come to a close. What has actually gone wrong with education in our Municipality?” he queried.

Mr. Thasun observed that the era where schools were held under trees is gone. Now both teachers and students study under conducive environments, but the Municipality is still not getting good results.

The Nkwanta South Municipal Director of Education, Mr. Stephen K. Tsuatofe, said the MCE had every right to complain.

He was, however, hopeful that after the stakeholders’ meeting, solutions will be found to address the poor educational situation in the Municipality. Mr. Tsuatofe said the situation where the BECE results slightly increased from 21.9 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018 was nothing to write home about, and that something must be done to reverse the trend. The Nkwanta Municipal Director of Education regretted that most parents have refused to support the education of their wards because of government’s free education policy, which should not be the case, and, called for an attitudinal change. Mr. Tsuatofe also revealed that some teachers and headteachers absent themselves from school, and in the days that they choose to report, they sleep during the contact hours, because they are tired, having travelled with bicycles for hours before getting to school. He, therefore, appealed to chiefs, opinion leaders and other stakeholders to help find accommodation for teachers posted to their communities, for them to stay and work.

Stakeholders at the meeting called on the government to, as a matter of importance, provide the relevant logistics to the Municipal Directorate of Education, such as vehicles for regular monitoring. According to them, the situation where the Municipal Director of Education uses his personal vehicle for official work should not be encouraged.

They also noted that the Municipal Education Office could best be described as a death trap, and that something must be done about it.

A 14-member committee was at the end of the meeting formed to identify the key problems confronting education in the area, and to report its findings within a month. The committee is also to determine whether the Municipal Assembly should pass a by-law to ban students and pupils from attending funerals and wake-keepings, and staying out after 8pm.

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