Professor Stephen Adei of the Pentecost University College, Accra, has noted that the Ghanaian educational system is in serious crisis, and called for its transformation.
He lamented that currently Ghana had a basic educational system that specialized in producing functionally illiterate learners.
Prof. Adei, who is the former Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), was speaking at the sixth Annual International Applied Research Conference of the Koforidua Polytechnic on the topic: “The State of Education in Ghana”.
He said the fact that 20 per cent of public basic schools and private schools produce more than enough to fill all Senior High School (SHS) meant that the majority of public schools totally fail in educating children.
“Since the return of the so called protocol system where prominent people get their children to enter grade A schools, our policy makers do not show concern that most children have no future because public basic education is in crisis,” Prof. Adei said.
He said all these were happening when public sector teachers in basic schools earned far more than the average private school staff and had more trained teachers with most of them having better classrooms.
Prof Adei noted that’’ research shows that teachers in pubic basic schools are simply not teaching; contact hours are less than 40 per cent of what is expected; “and the quality of education even in terms of the 03 R’s (i.e. arithmetic, reading and writing) were at their lowest.
Prof. Adei said the major causes of these trend were poor supervision and management at the school level, and centralization of decision-making under a bureaucratically inefficient and self-serving Ghana Education Service (GES).
He said: “despite the amount of money being spent on basic education in the country, we are getting less than half of the expected outcomes compared to countries such as Rwanda and Namibia”.
Prof Adei said it was time for the government to address those challenges and bring in partners such as the religious organizations and the private sector to ensure that the realization of Free Compulsory Basic Universal (Quality) Education.
“For example just by giving head teachers the authority to discipline teachers and hold them accountable for performance including the power to choose whom they want on their staff in exchange for meeting certain performance targets we can achieve quantum improvement in learning outcomes within one year with the same resources, ” he said.
Prof Adei said head teachers should be paid well “at least 50 per cent more than their corresponding non-head teachers.
“We must also reduce the number of subjects for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to not more than five; Language; numeracy; social studies; integrated science and ICT rather than preparing students for nine, 10 or 11 subjects who are functionally illiterate”.
Prof Adei said any delay in tackling the basic educational challenge was not only tantamount to mortgaging the future of Ghanaian children but also the survival of the nation as a viable economic entity and peaceful one.
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