Dr. John Gatsi, a senior lecturer at the University of the Cape Coast (UCC), has asked heads of basic schools to avoid assigning teachers with weak capacities in Mathematics and English Language to teach the subjects.
He observed that such teachers rather worsen the confidence and interest of the pupils in the subjects, thereby imbuing fear in them, thus affecting their future progress.
He gave the advice when he addressed the 30th anniversary celebration of the Reverend Father Peter Wenders Basic School, a public basic school at Sepenukope-Aflao in the Volta Region.
The anniversary was on the theme, “30 years of holistic public basic education: prospects and challenges.”
Dr. Gatsi, who is also the head of the Finance Department of UCC, lauded the staff, parents and the management of the school for bracing the odds for 30 years to stay relevant in education delivery in the area.
He said some of the challenges of basic education were obviously poor or inadequate infrastructure and passiveness of key stakeholders which culminate in poor results.
Dr. Gatsi said it was important, therefore, for other public schools to mark such landmarks, use them to assess their performances and also to engage with their communities and stakeholders.
According to him “no public school is a complete failure,” and urged the management of public basic schools to do more.
Addressing the theme of the anniversary, Dr. Gatsi said holistic education required the commitment of all stakeholders.
He said the visions must be shared and staff discipline kept very high.
Dr. Gatsi said staff discipline ensured the needed teacher commitment towards excellent delivery of the approved content, the use of approved teaching methods and the willingness to help children bring out their potentials.
He said the practicality of a holistic public basic education should not be measured only by the lawyers, engineers, accountants and academicians a school turned out, but also men and women who engaged in vocations contributing to national development of the country.
“If you invited old students now in the police and others in white collar jobs to your celebration today, but failed to invite the hairdressers, mechanics and market women, then you have not demonstrated being in holistic education the past 30 years”, Dr. Gatsi stated.
Dr. Gatsi said holistic education ensured the training of children predicated on discipline, identification of talents and areas of interest for future careers, including self-employment.
He entreated teachers to be guided by the many life realities and see their roles as investment in the children, and advised them to avoid vulgar language and discouraging words on children.
“Bear in mind that we have seen academically poor students who became extremely promising at another stage, and we have also seen several children written off by their teachers, but who became respected businessmen and women in society,” he said.
The lecturer called for motivation for committed teachers, who sacrificed their time and salary in the interest of needy students.
He said it was sad that many public school students appeared to have no set goals.
Dr. Gatsi also observed that “many students have embraced technology wrongly, such that, while on the average they knew many features on cellular phones and were active on Facebook and WhatsApp, they were passive and less focused on improving from time to time academically.”
Mr. Hilarious Ayittey, the outgoing headmaster of the school, said despite the challenges it faced, including inadequate infrastructure and under staffing, the school had excellent academic showings.
It was adjudged the best in the Ketu South Municipality’s 2014 BECE league log, and is also doing well in extra-curricular records.
The headmaster appealed to stakeholders to help in completing the floors of the remaining classrooms, replacing damaged windows and doors, and providing computers to help raise performance of students.