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Education is an essential sector to national development

When I recently read on Twitter an article titled, “Chaos in Ghana’s Educational System Under American Educationist And Founder of Charter Schools As Minister of Education” I was greatly troubled!

As an educationist and son of Ghana who has been writing a lot about educational issues, I decided to investigate this troubling statement in the said article.
First, I learned that the Minister of Education in the person of Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum at the beginning of the school year in Ghana directed the Ghana Education Service (GES) to ask ‘private schools in the country who so wish to run three-term system (trimester) while public schools run two-term system (semester).”

The implication here was that even students at the basic level were to spend more months in the classroom before going on holiday break. Also, number of minutes per period was increased to 50 minutes for the basic schools just as it was increased to 60 minutes from 40 minutes for Senior High Schools (SHS) with the introduction of the double-track system.

Second, I researched the background of the Minister of Education who was first appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in March 2017 as the Deputy Minister of Education for Ghana and found that Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum is the founder of the New Designs Charter Schools in Los Angeles California.

Prior to this, he worked as a Mathematics and Information Technology teacher at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California for ten years. During this period, he founded the International Studies Academy which served as a small learning community for students to thrive academically and socially. Thus, Dr. Adutwum is passionate about education. However, in his interest and eagerness to change the calendar year run by the Ghana Education Service, his background with charter schools in United States of American got better part of him.

According to news reports from Ghana, press releases by the Ghana Education Service on any directives just before the re-opening of schools seemed to have come in multiples. There were all signs that there were no proper planning and consultations within GES before their first releases.

The situation alarmed teachers and other stakeholders of education in the country. Subsequently, those directives were withdrawn.

Looking at the situation carefully, I would not conclude that the educational system in the country as at present has been thrown into total disarray. However, I must point out here, as I have always done over the years, that the educational system in Ghana has unduly suffered from party politics in the country.

The two main political parties in Ghana have over the years used students in the country as ‘guinea pigs’ to introduce new experiments/reforms based solely on their political ideologies at the detriment of our national interest in educational development. One big example is the handling of SSS/SHS (senior secondary) education in the country-its duration and quality!

The free secondary school education boldly introduced by Nana Addo’s government is commendable. However, there is an urgent need to address its toothing problem in the face of lack of adequate educational infrastructure which has led to the double-track in our SHS system leaving some students stranded in their timely acquisition of knowledge.

Moreover, students of some basic schools in the country still have classes under trees. Others sit and write on the floors of dilapidated classrooms. We’re in the proper planning for our educational system?

Ghana needs a national policy on education that must guide any government that comes to power. Chaos is stirring us in the face with our unplanned educational policies but let us do better not to invite it into our educational system. For, education anywhere is essential to national development. A word to the wise, they say, is enough. God have mercy.


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