Professor Stephen AddaeFormer Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Addae has blamed teachers at the basic school level for the poor performance of pupils, insisting that they should be held responsible for the poor results of their work.

The professor – speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday – stated that basic school teachers, though highly trained fail to honour their duty meticulously.

According to him, teachers spend less time teaching and added that in cases when they do the process lacks quality.

Comparing the quality of public basic school tutoring to that of private basic schools, Prof. Addae said teachers should be able to teach ‘normal’ children to read and write within two years even with limited teaching and learning materials like chalk and blackboard.

He said research has shown that pupils from private schools perform better than their colleagues in public schools even though they are taught by less trained teachers who are also poorly paid.

“The teachers are not doing their job. It’s as simple as that and nobody is holding them responsible. On the contrary…every now and then they want to hold the government hostage.”

Again, the former rector observed that public school teachers lack the discipline to be punctual, quoting a report by UNESCO that on the average Ghanaian teachers absent themselves – apart from public holidays – 43 days in a year.

The teachers, he said, fail to perform not necessarily because they are not paid well by government, maintaining that teachers at pre-secondary levels must be properly monitored to ensure they are doing the job as expected.

“If they think the teaching is not good they should leave but once they are there (they should be committed to the jobs).”

Prof Addae also spoke on other aspects of the education system as well as the economy.

Free SHS education

According to him, Ghana is capable of providing free Senior High School (SHS) education to all children. However, he said the issue must be depoliticized in order to find ways of making that a reality.

Flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s proposal to make SHS education free when voted as president was greeted with sharp criticisms and arguments challenging the feasibility of such project.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama who is opposed to the idea has also announced government’s intention to construct an extra 200 community day SHSs in each district in the country.

But Prof Addae, who believes that access to SHS education and quality are evenly dependent, said “we cannot choose to improve quality before we think of access, it is not an either or situation.”

“I believe that within a certain time frame free education for every child to secondary level is feasible.”

The focus he said should be on how to make that possible. For example, he said about six percent of the nation’s GDP could be tapped into the implementation of the project. Again, he said the tax system could be reviewed so the rich are taxed more. That along with proceeds from the nation’s oil will ensure free SHS is be achieved, he asserted.

Moreover, the former rector pointed out that Ghanaians should not expect that all children will be trained under the boarding school systems, highlighting that even richer economies like the United States do not train all their children in boarding schools.

Higher education

Prof Addae criticized what he termed “the old 1960 mentality guarding the 21st century Educational system” which he said has resulted in the poor education standards in the country. He maintained it was time to incorporate ICTs in tertiary education so that students will have access to labs and online libraries.

“Because now, you can have the same library as Oxford University, as Harvard University (while) sitting in your home. These are the types of things we should be looking at and not the restriction of the numbers…but how we can improve quality.”

Biometric registration exercise

He was not surprised at the violence that has characterized the exercise but was appalled by the level of acrimony which he described as alarming and shameful. Prof Addae was particularly concerned about what he said were attempts by politicians to undermine public institutions like the police service and judiciary, saying it was a dangerous trend creeping into the nation’s democracy.

“Yes there have been lapses but they do not warrant politicians undermining them.”

Faults media for political tension

As far as he was concerned, the media is to blame for the heightened tension in Ghana’s politics because they publicize ‘unguarded statements’ by politicians and invite people from opposing sides to comment on those issues.

He said he was happy that neither President Mills nor Nana Addo have remarked about the Ken Agyapong incident and hoped that when the two leaders do they will take non partisan positions.

Economics and good governance

In a general sense, Prof Addae said the economy has seen much growth. He was optimistic that unlike other countries that have had oil but couldn’t improve the livelihoods of the majority of their citizens Ghana will be different.

However he was worried that there was no specific agenda to improve the lives of Ghanaians.

“At this moment I don’t see any strategic framework for this nation; therefore you can have a temporary advantage and still no hope. And that’s what is making many Ghanaians frustrated. I think that people are willing to endure short-term hardship when they have a clear agenda and hope.

“There is Better Ghana (Agenda), yes every day we must be better but better towards what? We need specific agenda and to work towards it…”

Source: Dorcas Efe Mensah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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