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‘Don’t Base Educational Reforms On Political Considerations’   
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A professor of International Education and Development at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, Professor Kwame Akyeampong, has called for educational reforms to be anchored on evidence-based policy generated from research, instead of  political considerations.

That, he said, was because in spite of the progress the country had made in the area of education, wide disparities still existed, thereby raising questions about equitable quality education.

Prof. Akyeampong made the call when he addressed an international conference on education research for development in Africa (ICERDA 2015) in Accra yesterday. 

It was on the theme: “Harnessing Education Research for Evidence-based Development”.

He said progress made had not led to the reduction of poverty, which was seen as a major barrier to education.

“Although we have made progress, we have not closed the gap between the rich and the poor. It is the rich who have made progress. When it comes to gender parity, the poor are not doing very well,” he said.

Equity, he said, was a political choice and one that was not binding on any government, adding that researchers ought to lead the way in undertaking research that would provide stronger evidence for policy and provoke public education and action.

For reflection
Ghana, he said, had made progress but that had been at the expense of disadvantaged groups, adding that such progress did not warrant celebration but a reflection on what might have gone wrong.

“Why has the progress made been accompanied by such wide disparities?” he asked. “We need contextual understanding and opportunities in education.”

He said the time had come for the country to draw on research on educational access, transitions and equity to inform the production of a more successful educational system.

Prof. Akyeampong argued that the value of research in those areas would ensure the construction of evidence-based policy and school-community level research that produced a more nuanced understanding of the educational experiences of disadvantaged groups.

According to him, poverty and child labour continued to be the major reasons rural children failed to attend school and stressed the need for plans that would ensure that the poor had the same quality education that the rich enjoyed. 

Pre-school trained teachers
Prof. Akyeampong said while some gains had been made in the teacher-pupil ratio, it was regrettable that the pre-school level lacked adequate trained teachers.

He said the progression table of education in the country showed that while intake was very high at the basic level, it dropped significantly along the line, with girls being affected more.

“We need to find out why our children are failing. We need to set a new agenda on education and play down on the politics,” Prof. Akyeampong said.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Innovation and Development (ORID) of the University of Ghana, Prof. John Gyapong, called on researchers to sharpen their methodologies so that the validity of their research would not be questioned.
Source: Daily Graphic

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