Ghana used to have an education system that was highly regarded. It produced some of Africa’s illustrious independent political and economic activists. Recent decades have seen a worrying deterioration in the education system, accompanied by increased pressure from a growing population, including students from the sub region who still consider ours as better than their relatively disillusioned systems.
Some major issues identified:
- The Ghana Education Reform Project implemented in late 2007 has now run for a full length of seven years, but not without disruption. The change of government at the turn of 2009 saw the duration of the secondary education program reversed from 4 years to 3 years. Apart from this action very little work has been done to review the trajectory of the reform and its impact on any of the key aspects of education identified by successive commissions: administration, content, human resources, coverage and socio-economic justice, to name a couple.
- Classroom and lab resourcing have not seen major improvement. The program to connect rural schools to the Internet has moved at a snail pace for several years. ICT is far from being incorporated into the learning and teaching process in Ghana, in contravention of the Anamuah-Mensah report, and yet free hardware has been distributed to pupils. The limitations of hardware and connectivity in developing youth capacity are clearly seen in the growing conversions of Internet cafes across urban Ghana into sites of anti-social behaviour. Meanwhile, the growth of ICT has completely transformed the technical and vocational disciplines in most parts of the world. But the teachers in the technical institutes themselves are yet to be thoroughly ICT-proficient. The end-result is the lack of an industrial workforce for the secondary portion of the economy.
- Various studies mention the ‘stepped drop out’ syndrome as a major problem in Ghana’s education. This syndrome is what leads to a relatively low number of students who enter primary school making it to the University.
Speakers at the Occupy Ghana/IMANI Ghana Forum will deal with the following interventions and questions.
Funding of Education
Currently, the proportion of GDP and budgetary expenditures on education in Ghana is one of the highest in the world. However, some have argued that these expenditures in education do not give us commensurate output in terms of enrolment, retention and results. However, the issue of parental contribution to the cost of education, even within the public sector, must be a subject of critical analysis.
Questions: Is there really ‘free education’, within the public sector? Are we going to fully fund education, and collectively do it via a tax system or through a combination of state funding and parental contribution? Is the private sector truly spending more per pupil than in the public sector?
What Future for Technical, Vocational and Teacher Training Education?
Questions: How do we ensure that vocational and technical schools are highly resourced and attendees are not considered to be of lower grade as compared to grammar students? How do we ensure that the polytechnics move away from becoming mainly arts and social science colleges, and premier Universities like KNUST reverse the trend to enrolling more arts and social science than science and technology students? How will Ghana benefit from upgrading polytechnics to Universities? In the absence of critical focus on ICT and technology, how are teachers supposed to inject ICTs into technical training? How do we ensure that the distribution of free computer hardware in the country has a corresponding plan to develop and disseminate even more vital software learning tools and content, including training software? In spite of existing colleges of education having been upgraded to tertiary status, there are still persistent issues with quality. How do we improve the facilities, update the quality of instruction, infusing technology, updating the teaching methods and models?
Decentralisation and Curriculum Development
Since the government took over church schools during the first Republic, the management of education has become highly centralized. Despite the overall national decentralization policy, very little autonomy exists at the district levels of education. Schools’ management and supervision remain weak; the head teacher has virtually no authority, limited orientation or training to be a leader and manager, and has little incentive to perform.
Questions: Could effective decentralization, improved management and supervision, as well as motivation be important elements in turning the state of education around for the better in the public sector? What role for community leaders and parents in achieving quality education outcomes? How relevant are the various curricula for industry?
Private Sector Participation
At all levels of education in Ghana, there is a significant participation in the delivery of education by the private sector; thus public-private partnership is the norm as the table below shows. It is critical for government to clarify its policy towards private education at all levels, in view of their growing importance and potential to contribute more to the entire education system.
Question: What is the government doing to develop incentives to facilitate investment in private education and encourage the existing ones to expand?
Professor Jerome Siau Djangmah, Forum for Education Reform, former Director-General of GES/former Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast
Mr. Anis Haffar, Educationist & Founder, GATE Institute
Miss Elizabeth Ohene, Former Minister of State for Tertiary Education
Mr. Charles Yaw Aheto-Tsegah, Ag. Director-General, Ghana Education Service (GES)
Mr. Bright Appiah, Child Rights International
Mr. James Asare-Adjei, President, Association of Ghana Industries
Mr. Samuel Ekow Asamoah, Senior House Master, Achimota Secondary School
Mr. Sammy Darkwah Binfoh NUGS President, National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS)
Moderator: Bernard Avle, Citi FM
Date: Thursday October 2, 2014
Venue: Alisa Hotel,
Please confirm attendance by calling Ms Kathy Addy on 0208110483, Nana Kwasi Awuah on 0575 415816 and Aboagye Mintah on 0573087486 or simply sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org