As reported by the New Statesman on Monday, the next New Patriotic Party government under the presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promises to initiate and implement a policy that will eventually smoothen the transition of students from the Junior High School system to the Senior High School system as part of basic education.
The purpose of this initiative is to make SHS the first exit point for pupils, removing the current situation which sees 50 percent of JHS pupils dropping out after failing the Basic Education Certificate Examination.
Nana Akufo-Addo believes the current system where majority of the youth exit the educational ladder at the end of Junior High School means “we are building a future of hopelessness for a dangerously high number of our youth. This must stop and we must begin that necessary process by making it impossible to consider yourself a graduate after JHS.”
“What the youth of our country require can be brought down to three basic things: education, skills and jobs. Without the foundation of quality education the other two become a chanced struggle and the quality of tuition a child receives before the age of 16 can make or break his or her future,” the NPP flagbearer said.
“We do not intend to make it merely impossible to leave school after JHS; we are determined to tackle the more important issue of the quality of education that we offer to our future leaders. This means at the heart of our Education Policy will be what we have called, 'Teachers First'. We are determined to put the needs of the teacher and hence the quality of tuition for our children at the very heart of the next NPP policy on education,” he stressed.
A member of Nana Addo's Policy Unit and Member of Parliament for Techiman North, Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, told the New Statesman, “A continuous basic education up to the Senior High level, fits into Nana Akufo-Addo's plan to make secondary education free and compulsory.”
He explained, “When we talk about basic education in Ghana now, then we are talking about education up to the Junior High level. What the NPP plans to do is to shift the goal post to make basic education end at Senior High level, so that in Ghana when we say somebody has had basic education then it will mean the person has been educated up to the SHS level.”
Nana Akufo-Addo has said education will be a priority not just on paper but by action if the next government is formed by the opposition New Patriotic Party.
In the view of the NPP Presidential Candidate, the nation's hope of fast-tracking its development and creating opportunities for her people will forever remain a mirage if the country's educational system remains moribund, with mass failures recorded yearly, especially at the basic level.
“We are not going to be able to make the big leap for development that all of us in this country are seeking if we do not tackle the question of skills and education for the mass of our people; we are not going to be able to develop a modern society if 50 per cent of the adult population is illiterate – you can't do it,” he recently said on Joy FM.
Ghana, he warned, “stands the risk of falling into the abyss of social and political crises and their concomitant repercussions – as is the case in some African countries - if the education system is not invested in to produce a society of young progressive minded people who have hopes and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. The urgent action is needed here; political leaders cannot continue to pay lip service to the sector.”
Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi, a former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service and former Education Minister, believes the cost component of the NPP's “giant educational ambition” should not be a hindrance at all.
“I know some people will raise some concerns about the issue of resources, but the fact of the matter is that with all initiatives government must make some sacrifice. If we all agree that education is a priority, then budgetary allocation should be made to reflect it,” he stressed.
Nana Akufo-Addo even believes that to negotiate this far-too-often-cited reason why the education sector is in its current state, the nation must devote an non-negotiable percentage of its Gross Domestic Product to education, stressing that doing so is not an impossible thing.
We believe often the focus has been on infrastructure and expanding access to education but through an education system that has been consistently churning out generations of graduates with little or no basic knowledge and skills for a brighter future.
Ghana’s future, through the vortex of the existing educational statistics is dangerously gloomy. This must stop. This must change.
The country deserves a leadership that is not afraid to make quality education a priority. The least we can give our kids is education, the kind of education that can expose them to skills for them to be able to grow their creativity, their God-given talents for jobs and prosperity.
Let us build the individual for her to build our nation. We cannot but hail Nana Addo’s vision as truly the way forward for Ghana’s future. It is the light for a brighter future.
Source: The New Statesman
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