Bringing education back to former glories

Bringing education back to former glories

Education plays a pivotal role in the development of any country in all aspects, be it social, economic, political, cultural or moral advancement. It is one of the foremost rights to be given priority and provided for all humans. It is, therefore, a right not a privilege and every human is entitled to it.

Simply put, education, is, therefore, regarded as a platform to manipulate the needed manpower for national development. The sole purpose, is to train an individual to meet the needs of society and to boost national development in the best possible ways. It presupposes that, the quality of a nation’s education, determines the level of its national development.

An educational environment, helps people to figure out the skills that they badly need to get rid of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and other social and economic problems. Therefore, schools at various levels, are encouraged to educate upcoming future leaders and develop the multi-dimensional and technical capabilities needed for economic growth and development.

Without a proper and quality education for the citizens, all the various sectors of an economy of any country will suffer immensely, because it is the available manpower that propels all the economic sectors. That is why it is important for any country to provide the youth who are the future leaders with a well-tailored and proper education to help in the national reconstruction.

Unfortunately, in Ghana, we are being told by the number three gentleman of the land, Rt-Hon Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, the Speaker of our august Parliament that, the country’s educational system is not what it used to be in the past, as it teaches students to memorise, rather than making them creative.

Speaker Bagbin expressed this concern and noted that, the system should be organised in a manner that would encourage creativity among the students. “Our educational system is not too good. We mostly develop one aspect of our brains which is the memory and so, what they teach you is what you chew, assimilate and accommodate. Therefore, when they ask you a question, you try to reproduce what you have chewed. Our educational system does not teach many to be creative to come up with our own ideas”, he said.

He professed that, both youth development and empowerment, were very essential and, must go hand-in-hand.
His assertion has attracted a lot of comments from Ghanaians majority of whom agreed with his observation, calling on government, parliament and the educational authorities to take a second look at the deplorable educational system and make it functional and workable.

It is a fact that, for many years, our educational system, seemed to place much premium on memorisation by repetition and that had become an impediment for people to be forward-looking. This mentality is based on what can be termed, “chew, pour, pass and forget” system and this cuts across all the educational ladder. This can be very dangerous for our survival as a nation.

This type of training, especially, in the country’s universities, makes it difficult for graduates to apply what they have learnt in schools to the world of work. From the perspectives of most students, assessment methods used in their universities, had failed to examine their ability to answer practical questions even in their fields of study. This means that, lecturers in the various universities are not doing the right thing, and that they must try as much as possible to make their assessment more practical and applied to the real world of work.

This country needs skilled people to propel its economic aspirations and a school system that can help foster that agenda of technical and vocational education. The current educational system in this country, measures people purely on cognitive ability, which is not all that we need. It is, indeed, sad that to-date, we are engaged in this ‘chew, pour, pass and forget’ system of learning and that, students have not been empowered to self-develop and learn the skills for themselves, instead, they are prepared to study and pass examinations and that seems destructive.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) in 2019, gave a firm assurance that it would roll out a new educational curriculum that would focus on the total development of the child and not to be an examination-focused, to discourage the ‘chew, pour, pass and forget’ syndrome.

Dr Prince Armah, the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), disclosed this when he granted an interview to the media in 2019. According to him, the new curriculum, when introduced, would develop people who would be able to fit into the development priorities of the country.

Two years on, there is nothing to prove that the proposed new curriculum has been introduced to streamline the process because the old mentality of ‘chew, pour, pass and forget’ continues unabated in all spheres of the educational ladder.

It is instructive to say that the fallen standards of education in this country, clearly reveals that we are not giving adequate attention to the management of education and that, there is something basically wrong which we need to address in order to lift up the fallen standard. The pidgin English has even compounded the current situation. Students in our universities no longer speak the queen’s language which is English language fluently. They have adulterated the language with pidgin and that is not helpful.

Now that the Speaker of Parliament has raised his voice over this worrying situation, it means the problem has assumed a larger dimension which calls for all hands on deck approach to deal with the fallen standard of education in the country.

There is the need for a national educational dialogue which will assemble all the stakeholders in educational sector to brainstorm on how best this country can address the fallen standards of education across board to bring it in line with international standard to make it more potent and relevant to the needs of the society.

There should also be regular and constant training programmes for our teachers to prepare them adequately with modern trends in the profession to address the challenges in the educational sector.

The Minister of Education should be invited to appear before Parliament to give an overview of the current situation on the educational front and how he intends to address the problem to enable the country to regain its former glories in that sector.

The time is now for an all deck approach to tackle and deal decisively with the fallen trend of education in our beloved country.

By Charles Neequaye

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