Dr Yaw Adutwum, the Minister of Education, has broached a conversation on the need for Ghana to rethink its educational system to make it relevant to meet the socio-economic dictates of the 21st Century.
From time immemorial nations have continuously reformed their educational systems to be in tune with time but some of these nations have done it better than others and this shows in their various achievements.
The Ghanaian Times would like to emphasise that education must first be people-centred for the people who go through it themselves to turn the knowledge and skills acquired, and the positive attitude imbibed into the tool for ensuring the socio-economic development of the nation.
To acquire these knowledge, skills and the attitude requires that we should have teachers and school system managers that are ready to build the foundation needed by young learners to proceed on the educational ladder to the stage where they can contribute to self-, community and national development.
That foundation, of course, is nothing other than the reading, writing, numeracy and matters of attitude that involve societal values, particularly honesty, love for people and community, love to work and honestly earn income and subsequently acquire wealth, respect for various jobs and professions, punctuality, respect for others, et cetera.
The minister said the country over the years had made progress in education reforms but has not achieved its intended outcomes. The Ghanaian Times believes it is a good assessment of the country’s education system and gives us an inkling that the minister means business.
The questions, however, are:Which outcomes were expected? Were learners aware of those objectives or only educational planners knew them? Even if that was the case, at what point did the planners realise there had been some failure somewhere and what was done to rectify the situation?
These and many more questions ought to be asked to inform the reform Dr Adutwum intends for the country.
Our educational system now is like a sieve for separating some of the people from others and blaming poor academic performance on learners, leaving teachers and educational managers to go scot-free.
In a good educational system, none of the learners should be regarded a throw-away, especially at the basic level, because if any learner is made to feel incapable of progressing on the educational ladder and he imbibes this, he can miss developing his potential.
The Ghanaian Times is not saying that everyone is an academic luminary, but rather making the point that in today’s world, a good basic education is good for everyone, no matter what they want to be.
When we buy or just come into contact with shoddy goods, we recognise them, complain and lambast the producers. Why are we not questioning the work of teachers, especially those at the basic level, and their managers?
Dr Autwum also says unless the country provides an educational system that is robust and consistent with the fourth industrial revolution, the country’s agenda of ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ would continue to be elusive.
The Ghanaian Times applauds him for this assertion too but he should know that once corruption prevails with no system checking it, no reforms can work effectively.
All Ghanaian Times is saying is that we, as a nation, need to reform our educational system but that would not make any difference if our attitudes towards everything remain as they are now.