Dr. Prince Armah, a United Kingdom (UK)-based Educational Consultant and Executive Director of VIAM Africa, an education policy and research think tank has asked the government of Ghana the state of Ghana’s education system. In a post on his active Facebook page, Dr. Armah had the following (unedited) to ask the President;
In accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, will deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation on Thursday 25 February, 2016. Last year, he prefaced his message with one of the famous quotes of the Late Nelson Mendela.
“The greatest glory of living lies in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Whilst it is understandable to embellish presidential speeches with words of inspiration and hope, the current political atmosphere demands of the President to demonstrate strong commitment to achieving sustainable results beyond mere rhetoric.
He has to give Ghanaians the bare facts of the status of the campaign promises he made in the 2012 general elections especially in respect of the construction of 200 new community day secondary schools, 10 new Colleges of Education, and 2 technical schools in each district, among others, and what he seeks to achieve before the year draws to a close. At VIAM Africa, we will be looking out for programmes and interventions to improve learning outcomes in Ghana’s school system. And we have a contextual data to define our focus.
For instance, in Mathematics, a large proportion of pupils fail to meet grade expectations, with percentages of primary 3 and primary 6 pupils achieving proficiency in Mathematics falling below 20% (i.e. 18.2% for primary 3 and 16.1% for primary 6). At the same time, results from international comparative studies, specifically, the Trends in International Science and Mathematics Study (TIMSS) have consistently shown Ghana trailing behind many countries, and often in the bottom spot (i.e. over 80% of the pupils do not reach the low international benchmark).
Additionally, 90 percent of pupils in Public basic schools in Ghana can’t read nor write as contained in the Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessment Report. As a consequent, it is imperative for the President to highlight intervention programmes to improve learning outcomes. At the management level, the freeze on public sector employment has negatively affected recruitment into public schools; with many schools without adequate trained teachers. The recent discovery of about 400 teachers with fake certificates was a shock to many Ghanaians.
This has the potential to compound the existing problem of inadequate trained teachers. As an Ambassador of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), we expect the President to provide a clear direction of how his government intends to support the achievement of SDG4 of improved quality learning outcome by 2030. What do you make of Ghana’s education system? And what will you look out for in the 2016 State of the Nation Address in respect of developing the human resource capacity of Ghana to compete in the global economy.
Source: Dr. Prince Armah (Facebook)