A new syllabus, less motivated teachers and dilapidated school buildings a few of the issues that confront basic education in Ghana today. The SDGs goal four, which borders on education, aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable education across the world. It further aims at promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Enrollment in Ghana and other developing countries have increased but is that all we can boast about? The new syllabus is worth commending however, many are in school but are out-of-school. Read on until you appreciate my view point.
What is the definition of “out-of-school” according to UNICEF?
The 2018 World Bank Group Education report 2018 titled “Facing forward: Schooling with Learning in Africa” revealed that many Ghanaian children in the age 6-11 brackets are still out of school. According to UNICEF’s ‘out-of-school ‘definition, a child is said to be out-of-school if the child
a. Does not have access to a school in their community.
b. Doe not enroll despite the availability of a school.
c. Enrolls but later than they should have.
d. Enroll in schools that have poor facilities / no teachers.
e. Drop out of the education system.
f. Enroll but do not attend school.
These are the realities that stare us in the face at the basic school level and a true picture that needs to be altered by government and policymakers. This write up pays close attention to point enroll in schools that have poor facilities / no teachers and then neatly weaves in all the other issues.
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The new syllabus and the basic school today
Come September 2019 when Ghana rolls out the new syllabus for KG and Basic 1- basic 6, two critical key factors will still be in their old state of being.
The puzzle is perplexing, to say the least. We will roll out a very well structured syllabus to be championed by teachers who are demotivated and feel they need to be treated better.
Yes, I agree with my fellow teachers who are often disrespected and undermined by people in authority. A demotivated teacher for the love of his or her job will still work so far as his or her salary is paid at the end of the month and the days of monthly validation online makes teachers excited. But can you imagine how much more they will do if empowered and motivated by the government?
Teachers who are not motivated to give off their best are expected to perform miracles in the class. Some of these teachers may find themselves in moderately good classroom blocks to average structures or a few “high standard classrooms”. If a teacher is not personally motivated, such environments can impact their productivity and that of pupils.
Schools that have poor facilities
Many public schools have facilities that are very poor. Many more school children in Ghana will be introduced to the new syllabus that is expected to transform education in Ghana from the way knowledge is impacted as well as the kind of knowledge that is transferred from the Ghanaian teacher to the Ghanaian learner.
Again, more of such children in less endowed public basic schools and kindergartens will be housed in very dilapidated school buildings. Some of these school buildings are either very old ones with cracks or just uncompleted temporal structures that have become death traps for pupils and teachers.
Furthermore, as we get ready to roll out the new syllabus, many more of our children in public schools will learn under trees because the government has focused its attention on the syllabus and has done little to nothing about their classrooms.
Public schools in some parts of the country will have their pupils seating on cement blocks, or lying on their bellies to write, read and learn in schools.
Again, a lot of pupils will go to school without footwears and trek long distances to that poor dilapidated school in your village and mine. They will sit on hard and uncomfortable stones all day if they are lucky or perch on one weak dangling desk everyone comes to school early to have before others come.
Ghana and children in sasic schools in the hinterlands
I ask, how beneficial will the new syllabus be to basic school children in the hinterlands, who have been denied the comfort of habitable clean and neat school buildings and classrooms?
I weep for mother Ghana and her children in the hinterlands who have less to nothing of everything in their schools. However, they will be introduced to the new syllabus which Ghana expects to be the saviour of our education at the Pre Secondary school level.
Is the government really serious about its efforts towards the attainment of the SDGs goal 4? I have my own doubts if we can ever boast of haven attained this goal. I take solace in the fact that something seems being done today. What picture of tomorrow’s basic public schools do we aspire to attain and have in mind today which is propelling our policies and efforts as a nation?
The government seems to be doing so much in the education sector yet too little for basic schools in terms of infrastructure, and teacher motivation.
We have introduced the school feeding program which is a laudable idea yet; implementation and the kind of food giving to our pupils are sometimes just not good for consumption.
The number of children who are in our public schools keeps soaring and this is a good sign to some extent, but we have no desks, teaching and learning materials and in some cases teachers where they are needed.
This is further putting so much stress on teachers and the already inadequate infrastructure. Don’t kill the teacher with work overload because the classroom is filled with stress and several worrying issues per child to be dealt with already.
How much quality, pupil to pupil attention, support and better monitoring of pupils can one class teacher offer to a class of 45, 50 or 60 in a school where the basic infrastructure is not available or is overstretched.
It is important to add that, when the new academic year commences in September 2019, some schools are likely to close earlier than usual and lessons are also likely to be halted if the clouds begin to form because of their poor infrastructure.
Teachers in Ghana deserve commendation
I say, Ayikoo to all teachers in Ghana because, every individual in any position as a worker, from the presidency to the Ministers, Members of parliament, were all molded by several teachers at different times. Every educated person today is an embodiment of knowledge, skills, pieces of advice, mentoring, sacrifices, suggestions, and efforts of countless teachers whose efforts nested a collection of knowledge to mold us into who we are today
Teachers continue to be treated as though they are not important. Can you imagine a new syllabus implantation in a school that has received a perfect facelift in infrastructure in a less endowed basic school? This alone will motivate teachers to “kill” themselves for mother Ghana.
Can you imagine what a 5%, 8% or 10% increase in salaries of teachers effective September 2019 for public schools can do to the moral of teachers who have been resourced at the new syllabus workshop to implement the new syllabus?
It looks as though, our leaders are so much preoccupied with demotivating actions and decisions without even realizing it. Let the politician begin to look at teacher centered policies and motivate them while improving on infrastructure, the timely provision of teaching and learning materials and release the capitation grants to schools before school reopens to prove that they are proactive and aim at improving education at the basic school level.
I hope I painted a true picture of what we have in this nation at the basic school level as education. Let us all put our shoulders to the wheel and make basic school a model for Africa in Ghana only if we address what UNICEF calls out-of-school.
Source: Wisdom Hammond | Ghanaeducationnews.net