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?Poor standard of pre-tertiary education in Ghana

I watched a program on TV3 dubbed Consumer Watch on Sunday, September 14, 2014 about the low standard of pre-tertiary education in Ghana and I was surprised at the points that were raised by the discussionists Mr. Annis Hafar and a former Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Mr. Michael Nsowah.
Even though I agree with many of the points they raised, I think many of the assertions and contributions made by Mr. Annis Hafar on the program deserve a second look.
Without any intention to attack his personality, I think Mr. Annis Hafar, the seasoned educationists and founder of GATE Institute got it all wrong in his contributions while Mr. Michael Nsowah made interesting and vital contributions to the program and to education in Ghana.

His points were exact and a true reflection of what goes on in the pre-tertiary institutions in our country. I understand because Mr. Nsowah grew up in Ghana and Mr. Annis Hafar grew up in the West so he unfortunately missed the point by trying to apply Western approach to education to

our Ghanaian indigenous education. Unfortunately, our society cannot certainly accommodate the suggestions he tried to put across. I want to congratulate Mr. Nsowah for identifying such vital points and loopholes in our educational system and the possible solutions he suggested to combating the problems.
There are many causes of the low standard of pre-tertiary education in Ghana a few of which I shall mention in this piece but I want to state categorically that the blame being put on teachers in our pre-tertiary institutions(primary, JHS and SHS) is totally wrong, out of place and a misdirected enthusiasm on the part of those who apportion the blame.

? THE ISSUE OF CURRICULUM

Curriculum plays a vital role in education in our country. It is the curriculum that tells the direction of teaching and learning, what to teach and learn and how much to learn over a period of time. Thus, proper planning of curriculum will have positive effect on our educational system and vice versa.
Curriculum in Ghana is not properly planned so to speak. It is loaded with a lot of pure theoretical subjects that students are taught. What has the teacher got to do with this? As much as I know, the teacher’s role is to teach his students what has been designed already in the syllabi and to transform their lives positively. The teacher has no business whatsoever with curriculum planning.
No one can also try to impress that teachers should compulsorily purchase Teaching and Learning Materials(TLM) as Mr. Annis Hafar tried to put accross. That responsibility to my best of knowledge lies with the Ghana Education Service(GES) and if they have neglected that responsibility, why should the teacher be blamed? Improvisation of TLMs to me is not the solution here because improvised TLMs do not represent the real objects and would therefore not be appropriate for effective teaching and learning. The GES must come clear concerning this issue after all, its their responsibility to do that.
In Ghana, too many subjects are taught at the pre-tertiary level and this has not helped in any way at all. The Ghanaian curriculum is a mixture of pure overload and pressure both on the teacher and the student. Coupled with the pressure on the teacher to finish the topics in the syllabus on time and to escape sanction, the student is the beneficiary of the suffering that this pressure would probably cause at the long run.
That is why I disagree with Mr. Annis Hafar when he tried to create the impression that the problem is not about the number of subjects taught at this level. His assertion here is a misplaced priority and deserves a second look. Learners at all levels of pre-tertiary education have different cognitive development levels and the contents of the syllabi must be planned to suit their levels.
Let curriculum planners be more realistic in their work and within a short time, our educational system will rise to the upper echelons of glory.

THE ISSUE OF DISCIPLINE AND TEACHER MOTIVATION

Indiscipline has eaten deep into our social fabric today and students have not been left out of this horrible menace. How can a student who attends school once or twice a week or even in some cases once a month come out of school with flying colours or how can a student who comes to school late everyday make any meaningful grade at the end?? These are facts that all stakeholders in education must come together to address rather than pushing the entire blame on the teacher. Parents alike play significant roles in indiscipline in our country thereby creating problems for the teacher in the classroom. They do not discipline their wards at home and are not willing to cooperate with the teacher to put their wards on the right path.????????????????????????????????????????? The issue of teacher motivation which is an important contributor to the problem but which unfortunately has been neglected by the government and which was not talked about by the discussionists on the Consumer Watch program can also not be overlooked. With teacher motivation, the least said about it, the better. I would rather prefer not to talk about it to save the situation.
But teachers must be motivated in many ways running from salaries to incentives to retain them on the job and thereby preventing the large influx of teachers to other persuasions.
Let the government, the Ghanaian public and other stakeholders understand these problems and come together to find a lasting solution to them rather than putting the blame on the innocent teacher.
So you see, Mr. Annis Hafar, you missed the point because for the poor standard of pre-tertiary education in Ghana, the teacher is not at all to blame.

Bright Afele
[email protected]

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