The main objective of education is to provide insight to its beneficiaries. Education is as old as man (Genesis 1: 28-30). Western (formal) education is not the Blackman’s idea. It was introduced by the Whiteman and borrowed by those who came before us, but it’s definitely a good thing. It is a key cog in any successful, prosperous, productive and / or healthy life that has ever graced the face of the earth! Despite all the risks involved at the time, even the colonial master found it necessary to provide us with a good education. Yet our systems are failing us right now by not clicking as efficiently as we need to. So why has it become so difficult for our own free and “independent” fathers and sisters today to provide us with a good education?
The ineffectiveness of the education provider in implementing, deploying or managing major policies, and other related factors, are responsible for the stubborn education system we are witnessing and militate against active learning. “Unlike exclusion from school, lack of learning is often invisible, preventing families and communities from exercising their right to quality education” (World Bank, 2018).
It is undeniable that our system, in its current form, is far from achieving the goal of education as postulated in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) – Ensure inclusive and quality education. equitable and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030..
This goal is certainly not just about increasing access, no. If this were just that, then we would be celebrating our success in this regard because we have achieved over 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) at the KG and primary levels of the educational ladder, by the time that we speak. And the transition rate of children from JHS to SHS, in 2017, was 78%; which is promising. On the contrary, it requires that we also pay much more attention to quality. Quality has to do with what and how children are imbued with skills, knowledge, values, skills and attitudes, and how they are transformed to become productive and valuable to the nation.
Unfortunately, our children are not learning at the levels expected in school largely because of the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of key policy makers and government. First of all, the Government of Ghana (GoG) has always sought to dazzle on paper and impress the international community rather than addressing the real issues on the ground. A classic example of this emerged in 2017, when GoG’s contribution to the sector was the largest, accounting for 74% of total education spending. The effort looks good on paper; however, 95.4% of the fund was spent in emolument. When other sources of education finance were added, wages and salaries accounted for 72% of overall education spending, with goods and services accounting for 23% while capital spending was a meager 5%. This indicates that almost all non-wage spending comes from education funding sources outside of public funding (World Bank GALOP, 2019). Just under 5% of funds spent on non-salary expenses, including books, capitation grants, food, etc. raise questions about GoG’s commitment to quality assurance. Again, the World Bank’s GALOP PID, 2019 reports that teachers who accept assignments or transfers to areas designated as private by GNAT and GES management are eligible to receive a compensated allowance equivalent to 25% of the gross monthly income. He further claims that they receive incentives such as paid or unpaid study leave, health care and subsidized loans, supervision and supervision allowances, etc. If the statements made by this report are the true representation of the real situation on the ground, why does the teaching profession suffer from the highest attrition rate (7000) of all the workforce in the country, as has revealed the GNAT in 2019, to corroborate an earlier research estimated that the annual turnover of teachers was around 16%, a rate that even exceeds that of students. Why? The Ministry of Education (MoE), the designated structure of the GoG responsible for structuring and overseeing education issues and policies across various bodies and departments such as GES, NaCCA, NTC, NIB, etc., seems overwhelmed by this task, with so much inefficiency. Unfortunately, there seems to be a clear intention on the part of educational policy makers / providers to paint a misleading picture of a system that is as dark as pink. We will do worse if we go down that road, that’s for sure.
Take, for example, the provision of resources such as textbooks, capitation grants and other logistics. There has still been no distribution or late distribution. And in some cases, this has had a negative effect on the achievement of learning outcomes. Can you imagine that since the inception and implementation of the New Standards Based Curriculum (NSBC) in primary schools and primary schools, no NaCCA approved textbook has been provided to schools to facilitate teaching? and learning, so far? Even the few unapproved textbooks on the new curriculum, the content of which was greeted by public outcry, were only written recently, years after implementation. The content of certain books, which have become the norm in our contexts with almost everything, has not failed to arouse controversy. It turned out that despite the inclusion of sectarian and ethnocentric content, some books still managed to find their way onto the open market. However, we are two academic years away from its implementation. Are you also aware that the Ministry of Education has not yet given training to teachers of JHS / SHS on the Common Basic Curriculum (CCPC) which was supposed to have been implemented from Basic Seven (JHS1) to Basic Ten (SHS 1) now? It is supposed to be a continuation of NSBC, but there is currently a delay in its implementation in JHS and SHS. So what are learners learning now and what is its relevance to them and to the system? Is it coordinated and in line with the plan? Yet on paper, a new program is in place, learning outcomes will be measured and system performance assessed from the time it was first implemented in September 2019. The results of the l evaluation of such a system be reliable and accurate? As for the administration of Capitation Grant, the less the better. It still has arrears, but there are so many regulations governing its disbursement and so on. Covid-19 PPE arrived in many schools after schools reopened and operated for over a month. With all of these challenges, how will teaching be effective? And if there is no effective teaching, how will active learning play out? And without active learning, how will we succeed in fully applying and benefiting from our principles of the education law, Law 778?
Likewise, most of the learning difficulties at the school level are the result of inefficiency resulting from the political and more powerful division of the spectrum. Take into account teacher-related issues such as low teacher skills or standards, and you realize that poor training requirements / conditions, poor regulations of training institutions, lack of standard recruitment mode, lack of a concrete and effective policy of continuing professional development and other poor policies for it. Who makes the policies? If it is a high attrition rate of teachers leading to problems such as lack of time devoted to tasks, lack of adequate preparation for lessons, absenteeism, lateness, etc. their best. Anything that is not in this regard is unacceptable and should be discouraged as much as possible. We must always remember that effective teaching depends on the skills and motivation of teachers, yet many systems do not take them seriously (World Bank, 2018).
Written by: David Angangmwin Baganiah
Educational consultant | Advisor | Volunteer