Opinion: Ghana’s Basic Education Is Behind at Least a Decade by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

During one of the recent Meet-The-Press series of conferences, we are informed that the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, discussed some of the most significant deficiencies plaguing the country’s basic public-school system. For example, we are informed to our utter horror and chagrin, that for most of the tenure of the Rawlings-founded National Democratic Congress (NDC) political party, the teaching of the History of Ghana was conspicuously missing from the curriculum . No wonder, then, that these days the country’s youths scandalously appear to have totally lost their sense of national pride and identity. And, of course, we all know that any generation of humans without a remarkable and coherent grip on the details and the general contours of their national historical memory is just as good as dead or nonexistent.

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And this well appears to be the cognitive and psychological canker that at least a whole generation of our youths have been suffering for quite a considerable while. You see, once you lose your sense of national identity, all else loses its meaning. Which pretty much explains why under the leadership of the National Democratic Congress, most notably the leadership of Presidents John Evans Atta-Mills, late, and John Dramani Mahama, Ghana effectively lost its former pride of place in the periodic global rankings of the quality of the country’s public education. Indeed, about 8 years ago, for instance, and I have had legion occasions to underscore this morally depressing fact over and over again, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey of some 145 countries had Ghana placing butt-naked last, or 145th out of 145 countries, as New Yorkers are wont to say.

And then just this past year, the country was, once again, ranked dismally at 149 out of some 150 countries, with Ghana only performing slightly better than Niger, presently ranked as the world’s poorest nation. This is worse than criminal. It is simply unacceptable as well as untenable. Fortunately, this is what education experts in the Akufo-Addo government have literally been working around the clock to rectify for close to three years now. And it is for this reason that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian voters and the citizenry at large ought to be readying up themselves to return the present visionary and progressive Akufo-Addo Administration to power come December 2020.

At the aforementioned Meet-The-Press conference, recently, Dr. Opoku-Prempeh was also reported to have informed the general public that Sports and Physical Education, two of the most salient components of any viable or worthwhile education system, had also been callously taken out of the basic public school curriculum for how long, nobody could remember. Naturally, I began to wonder whether this was what Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings meant when the bloody couple pontifically and self-righteously boasted of having instilled some nondescript “revolutionary values” into a purportedly hitherto morally bankrupt, decadent and culturally effete postcolonial Ghanaian civilization. And then, to think of the fact that it was the same people who so callously removed Sports and Physical Education from the country’s basic-education curriculum are also the same people who doggedly and adamantly pursued the Social Darwinian Cash-and-Carry healthcare policy, makes matters all the more criminal and scandalous.

Under the old Mahama-championed and Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman-supervised curriculum, our current Education Minister tells us that the primary pedagogical objective was to simply teach-to-the-test or mechanically prepare students to literally “chew, pour, pass and forget” about almost everything that they had learned in school, almost immediately upon graduation from our elementary and middle schools. Logically, the high school system was remarkably no better, let alone our tertiary education system. Henceforth, Dr. Opoku-Prempeh noted that the focus of both the elementary – actually it begins right from the kindergarten level – and middle school curricula would be on the critical acquisition of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic or the traditional Three-Rs and, most significant of all, Creativity and Critical-Thinking skills. Thus, within the next half decade, Ghana should be poised to resuming its vanguard position among the global ranking of the most qualitative and socially responsive and responsible academies.

For this writer, however, perhaps the most progressive and visionary aspect of the soon-to-be unveiled Kindergarten, Primary and Middle-School Curricula is the creation of a mechanism aimed at effectively evaluating teaching and learning periodically and devising a measurable process for improving both the qualities of teaching and learning. The latter mechanism, we are told, had been woefully lacking in the old curricular system. This is also, it goes without saying, the main qualitatively seismic difference between the leadership thrust and significance of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Mr. John Dramani Mahama. One leader is positive-results oriented, while the other is essentially make-believe.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

The views expressed by this author remain solely their own and are not to be taken as the view of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com

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