I am a Ghanaian and a passionate admirer of education and it is natural that I address this to you to remind you of some basic issues that usually do not get attention. We have played with education in Ghana for far too long and now the time has come for us to wake up from our slumber.
Madam Prof., one of the key issues that have bedeviled education in Ghana is that lack of attention for basic education. I am not an authority in education, but if we are to be truthful then we would realized the foundation of education has crashed.
What has accounted for this? It is sad for you to know Madam Minister that most circuit supervisors in many districts operate from their homes. They simply do not have any means to travel to the schools for monitoring. Those who have managed to acquire their means for transport and those supported by other stakeholders spend portion of their meagre salaries on fuel. This has created a popular phrase “Two out of five” among circuit supervisors. They go to work only on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Madam Minister, part of the challenge is also that our circuit supervisors appear not to have appreciable knowledge of some of the subjects being taught. With this, putting a teacher on track is just not possible even if the circuit supervisor gets to a class. To put this into perspective, most English language teachers for instance ignore the phonic style during their lessons. This practice has resulted in students even at the senior high school level not being able to read. What has happen to the theorem; behaviorist, interactionist and the innatist during our lessons? These are very helpful in the delivery of lessons.
The effects of this are that teachers are left free to do anything in the classroom. Students are also allowed to do anything. The cumulative result of these is malpractices during examination. We can only change for good if we develop interest in what transpires between a teacher and the learner in the classroom.
Madam Prof. Minister, the principal challenge identified through the debate is the politics in education. Everyone in this country knows the NPP and NDC politics in education. Before the year 2012 it was about duration and shifted to the possibility of being free or otherwise in the 2012 elections. The proposal and counter proposal by the political class have not improved education a bit. The dangerous aspect of the politics in education is not being notice. The politicians always go to town with figures and they will do anything to conjure the beautiful figures.
It suffices you to note that the computer placement system has been taken over by the political class of which you belong. Today, the politician influences the system to place “unteacheable” students into senior high school. Students with aggregate 40 are placed to support the government to say that it has achieved 100% placement. This is the dangerous path that education in the country has been set for.
Honourable Minister, until circuit supervisors are equipped logistically and refresher training, and a call for the politics in education to be checked the country will continue to record abysmal performances in competitive examinations.