Education is a key driver of economic success and social mobility. That is why we must not allow politicians to politicise it. We must all strive to bring the best education to every child. I don’t see our politicians and citizenry, pulling their weight when it comes to educational reforms. The politicians only practice their ” campaign in poetry but govern in prose” philosophy and citizens easily fall for their political tricks. In 2002, the NPP administration led by President Kufour inaugurated a Presidential Committee on Review of Education Reforms in Ghana. The committee which was under the Chairmanship of Professor Jophus Anamuah Mensah then Vice- Chancellor of University of Education, Winneba, made several recommendations in its report which was presented to the then government. It recommended that universal education shall now be eleven years made up of 2 year Kindergarten, six years primary school and three years Junior High School.
The committee also recommended a four year SHS education which will offer general education with elective in General, Business, technical, vocational and agriculture options. Prof Anamuah Mensah said, the committee, after looking at the two options of a three-year and a four- year duration for the SHS, settled on the three year duration with a CAVEAT that INFRASTRUCTURE and RESOURCES would be devoted to the educational sector. The NPP government under Kufour went ahead and implemented their proposed four- year duration system despite the technical advice the committee gave in the report. The report tempered report recommending the change from 3-year to 4-year was laid before the committee of the whole parliament and was subsequently approved and came into effect as Act of parliament ( Education Act 778 of Dec 2008). When the NDC took over in 2008-2009, it brought back the three-year duration system. The three- year duration in terms of government support for the SHS students sharply contradicts the party’s four year duration policy it implemented which was changed by the Mills administration.
Many countries have developed on the wings of their intellectual capacity. Nkrumah, Busia and even some of our military regimes made conscious efforts through several meaningful policies to reshape and revamp our education system. The current populist policies being introduced by this administration including teacher-license exams and exams fee etc if not checked, will create unnecessary problems for the sector which could deteriorate our education.
The NPP tradition’s policies it introduces whenever it comes to office create unnecessary challenges for the sector. In 1971, their own government under Busia in its policy document, outlined that at the lower level pupils should be instructed in their local language but the Kufour administration cancelled that policy and introduced use of English as the medium of instruction. The issue of Infrastructure was raised in the Anamuah Mensah report. It raised the problem of inadequate infrastructure (classrooms) and other facilities to cater for students who will enter the fourth year of and but the administration rubbished that technical advice. What was captured in the report about inadequacy of infrastructure, was what forced the Mills/Mahama administrations to embark on the massive infrastructure development. Another issue noteworthy is the change of name from Senior Secondary School to Senior High School. The NPP government under Kufour told Ghanaians that the committee recommended the name change but the committee denied that claim. It said it did not recommend change of name in our pre- tertiary educational levels.
So, why is the NPP now placing the three- year duration conditionality on its so called free SHS. Is the policy a three- year scholarship with conditions attached, or free SHS as they told us on their campaign platforms.
Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow