Adopt policies that improve basic education

On January 14, this year, the Ghana Education Service (GES) announced the introduction of a semester-based academic calendar for all basic schools, including kindergarten and primary schools.

This follows the introduction of the semester system at the senior high school level in 2018 and later at the junior high level early last year.

The GES gave reasons for its decision such as aligning the basic school, which now is said to include the senior high level, with the university system.

In spite of whatever reasons, the decision suffered vehement opposition from teacher unions and education think tank, Eduwatch, insisting that the government should withdraw the new policy because it is not the best for the kindergarten to junior high level.

On January 17, 2o22, a day before schools would reopen, the unions jointly called on the GES to immediately restore the trimester system.

Happily, the government, through the Ministry of Education, says it has taken into consideration the call from key public stakeholders to revert to the trimester system.

As such, the ministry has given the periods for the three terms constituting this academic year as running from January 18 to December 22, 2022.

The Ghanaian Times commends the ministry and all the other stakeholders for ensuring calm in this matter.

One would be labour the point if one tries to list reasons why education is important in today’s world.

However, it must be pointed out that due to the benefits of the education system, touted as the key to development, every country intends to build a world-class system.

It will take such world-class system to prepare citizens or people to gain the relevant knowledge and skills to handle the ever-changing would today.

It should be noted that every good system has a strong foundation and in the education space, the foundation is its basic school system.

Already, the basic school system in the country now is not one that can claim a place at the international level because it does not meet a greater number of the criteria used in classifying internationally-acclaimed ones, particularly with regard to the quality of facilities, quality of teaching methods, the motivation for learning, quality of the standards and performance of products.

Until the situation changes, the Ghanaian Times would continue to refer to the fact that most children who attend public basic schools come out as just semi-illiterate persons as they can never do appreciable reading and writing, neither can they apply basic mathematic principles.

The government is making the efforts to change the status quo and its efforts would pay off once it highlights the problems and fix them, not policies whose impact on the quality of the system is negligible.

Policies are good but they must be more of those that can help to improve standards and make the educated Ghanaian someone who can match or compete with his or her counterpart anywhere on the globe, rather than playing second fiddle to others.

Besides, they should emphasise qualities such as honesty, selflessness, fellow feeling, patriotism, respect for others, tolerance, hard work, and active citizenship so that they can be applied in the situations to achieve the societal or collective good.

It is the hope of the Ghanaian Times that once the dust over the semester-trimester debate has settled, all stakeholders would help the government to improve the school system in the country to an international standard so that its products shall be accepted anywhere in the world.

Teachers, for instance, must deem it as a personally-imposed obligation to teach well and motivate learners to have the love for continuous learning, while parents must give their children the necessary support.

The improvement in the basic school system will surely secure the country’s future. 

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