Swings in educational policies affect students’ performance – Prof Yankah

The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has expressed dissatisfaction about the persistent change in educational policies in the country anytime there is a change in government.

According to him, the frequency at which political leadership of the country, alter educational policies without any scientific basis, was a major contributory factor to the poor result outcomes recorded annually in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

He has, therefore, called for some measures to be put in place to ensure that educational interventions that promote positive outcomes were consolidated and insulated from the manacles of politicians.

“It is important that we come to the realisation that the usual swings in educational policies as a result of change in government, also affects the outcomes of the results. In a situation where we want to change whatever policy or intervention put in by a regime, we must allow that intervention to run its full course so we can assess it empirically before offering the change,” he emphasised.

Prof. Yankah, who was speaking on the topic: “Impact of Policy Interventions: Evidence-Based Interventions to Improve Secondary Education”, at the ongoing National Education Week (NEW) celebration which opened in Accra on Tuesday, said once policies were allowed to run their full course, it would reveal the weaknesses that would help policy makers to make informed changes.

He said there was evidence to suggest that the results of students from the four-year Senior High School (SHS) programme introduced by the Kufuor Administration were the best recorded under the WASSCE.

Prof. Yankah said even though there was data to support this assertion, the swing in the policy following the change of the political administration, implied that it could not run the full cycle which could have assisted in designing measures to further improve on the policy.

“For example; performance in English Language between 2006 and 2019 reveal that 2011, 2012 and 2013 were the peak in terms of the results. Those periods recorded 76%, 67% and 66% which were also the periods those who underwent the four-year duration participated in the annual examination respectively,” he emphasised.

He said subsequent to these periods, the performance continued to drop, suggesting that there could have been something terribly wrong with the swing which reversed the four-year policy back to three year by the Mills Administration.

Prof. Yankah said though the results had been poor from 2014 onwards, this year’s results witnessed remarkable improvement in the sciences, implying that something positive, which required investigations was happening in the sector.

He said the improvement in Mathematics and Science performance was an indication of increased numbers of students eligible to pursue science and mathematics majors, which would invariably support government policy to achieve science to humanities ratios of 60:40.

This year’s NEW is the second edition and is on the theme, ‘Reforming the Education Sector for Effective Service Delivery: Embracing Innovations’.

 It is a platform created by the Ministry of Education to enable it engage stakeholders annually with the view to review sector performance and collectively strategise towards the attainment of sector targets in the ensuing year.

By Cliff Ekuful

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