Let’s not gamble with our education-Michael Kessey

Undoubtedly, the standard of our education was appreciably high in the late 50’s to 90’s until the infusion of political policies into it when it begun to fall from the first and second cycle through to the tertiary level. Today there is relatively nothing to write home about our education. The decision or choice we make today will determine the outcome of our education tomorrow. If indeed our politicians believe education is the key to success then they must make sure they put in place measures that will promote our education to make it one of the best in Africa. If government, politicians and our educationist want to make a choice that concerns our education it is imperative to weigh the options available critically and choose the one that can yield positive results in the near future.

To the best of my knowledge as an educationist “education is the only modern vehicle that can send us to our destination or the only weapon for we the poor and the rich to break even” and as such Governments, politicians and educationist must not gamble at all with it because the growth and survival of mother Ghana’s tomorrow lies in the hands of the younger generation. The fallen standards of our education today must be put at the doorsteps of our politicians. The three tiers of government had failed in their statutory role of providing quality education for the citizens of Ghana.

When you look at the environment of some public schools you would be shocked. Most of our Basic schools are in a deplorable state and instead of our politicians renovating them they will sit down for the building to collapse and kill our innocent children of which their children will not be affected because they attain their education abroad. Teachers and students of most of our Basic schools which have no fence walls are left at the mercy of Cattles and lunatics. We are having more children but we are not providing enough facilities to cater for them. The private organizations that were supposed to rescue the situation have also taking advantage of making money all because government have not been able to provide adequate resources to our public schools.

Investment by government and politicians on the education of our younger generation could never be a waste because the growth and development of our beloved country depends on them. “Education should not be taken lightly at all particularly at the child’s development stage by government and politicians. Educating our younger generation is a serious business and there is no room for it being treated like a Jackpot. Developed countries value education as the only pathway to success and excellence in life that is why they thought it wise to use their resources to invest in giving back to its citizens free and quality education. Government and Politicians must remember someday God will judge them not according to the huge donations they gave to the clergy.

I cherished the primary education all us went through as one of the best system of education in the world when it comes to discipline, good morals, character. Thanks be to God majority of our politicians went through the first and second cycle education through to the tertiary level and that has put them where they are now. It would be disastrous for our generations to come if our politicians decide to put their political interest first at the expense of the betterment of these future generations.

Look at the way and manner they look unconcern about the consequences of their educational policies they bring on board and how it affects the future generations. The NDC government for political reasons reduced the four year completion for SHS students to three years that made it possible for two batches to write WASSE at the same time. This brought an extra burden on parents and teachers to the extent that parents had to pay extra money apart from the normal school fees. The time teachers have to use to mark students examination papers and record marks had to be sacrificed in order to teach these two batches of WASSE candidates that the NDC government used as guinea pigs for their experiment. At the end of it all it took only the exceptional students in form three to perform.

I have been itching to ask what is wrong with our educational policies and how our policy makers value it. The proposed extension of instructional hours with two additional hours is something I disagree with absolutely and I will call on government to have a second look at it. To every decision we make in life it is imperative we factor in both the positive and negative sides of it by weighing it to see which one outweighs the other before taking a final decision. After all, the acquisition of knowledge by students in the classroom cannot be measured on long hours of instructional hours, but the ability of teachers to deliver. As the Greek maxim says “men sana incorpore sano” that is a healthy mind can be found in a healthy body. We live in a country where teachers are denied their monthly salary for months all because of system errors at the Controller and Accountant General’s department.

The proposed additional instructional hours by government will only introduce poor performance in the classroom and will also contribute lackadaisical attitude and over burden teachers in the classroom. More so, most of our students because of long instructional hours in class will lead them to truancy. When you are tired and you keep on learning at the end of it all the achievable results will be 100% concentration and absorption will be nil. Government wants teachers in the Primary schools to upgrade themselves through the Distance learning program and the little time they will use after school too should be given to parents who leave their homes at dawn and come back home when their wards are asleep. The good initiative brought by the erstwhile J.A. Kufour’s good governance known as Capitation Grants to head teachers of Basic Schools across the country to enhance effective teaching and learning suffered a big blow under the former regime.

Education of the child is a shared responsibility which should not be shifted on the neck of teachers. Let’s not forget the school feeding program have also not reached every basic schools in the country. If government intends to have effective teaching and learning in our basic schools, then the best way to go is to introduce Subject teaching at the Primary level too. It will go a long way to prevent teachers who are weaker in a particular subject to brush off a topic they feel they cannot teach well.

It’s laughable when our politicians claim private schools are performing better than the public schools. Whilst teachers in the private schools are teaching in a conducive environment those in the public schools are teaching under un-conducive atmospheres where bad scent from public toilets, lunatics entering the classrooms at any point in time, wee smokers smoking around the classrooms and unnecessary noise from the community is the order of the day. Teachers in the public schools need hundred percent (100%) attention, and the atmosphere for learning must be very conducive. Go to many public Basic schools you will notice there are insufficient textbooks especially English reading books for pupils. It is pathetic in this modern Ghana teachers have to write passages on the chalkboard because they cannot share only five English reading books to over forty pupils in class.
Where in this world would you see a Member of Parliament will be kind enough to use about 3.7 million old cedi of his Getfund to build a school block and put in cement chalkboards instead of marker boards for teachers to write on without considering the health problems the chemicals in the chalk will bring to the teacher?
I am not surprise at all about 90% of teachers in the teaching service and those on retirement wear eye glasses to the extent that the most unfortunate ones go blind.

There are insufficient desk for pupils to sit on in most public schools and teachers have no option than to pack pupils like Sardine on one desk. Lack of syllabuses for teachers in the basic schools and the few ones left are either bad that the printing cannot be read by the teacher. Npp government under erstwhile J.A. Kufour‘s administration saw the need to promote reading at the basic level and because of that provided them with Gateway to English and Library books. Other textbooks were also supplied in abundance with the exception of Religious and Moral Education. My passionate appeal to government is to first of all find ways of addressing the above mentioned challenges before thinking of implementing a new thing that will not be a plus to its good policies.

Michael Kessey ( Akissiway)
Tel: 0244548693/ 0266263399