I am always downhearted per certain happenings in our educational system which most of us may reasonably know but fail to tell the truth. I have taught at the SHS over ten years now and think certain things must be keenly considered with caution in respect of how we raise students today. These are outlined below:
1. I personally wonder how students are trained from the basic level before they reach the SHS after writing BECE. If I say some students, then I'm being too fair but most students who graduate from the JHS level seem to lack complete academic reasoning to further at the SHS. I do ask myself why?
And do further ask as to whether or not GES has a research body that goes to the grassroots to find out the cause or causes of this deep national wound. I say without revocation that if we fail to fish out the root of this national wound, we shall in a matter of less than two decades be amputated academically as a result. Things seem to fall apart...
2. Per the performances of most students at the SHS, I humbly ask: should every student who obtains any pass aggregate at the BECE be enrolled at the SHS at all? As a member of my school's Guidance and Counselling Team and having genuinely interacted with uncountable number of students and teachers within and outside my school and virtually across the country, I humbly think we must take a second look at the mass rate of pushing almost all JHS graduates into the SHS.
I have noticed that the SHS Course is a bit tedious and cumbersome, and infact, not all heads can can face it and excel. I believe this is without dispute per se. It does pain me that most colleague teachers do know this fact, yet we are unable to voice out. As a concerned teacher and patriotic citizen, I do not want to be a spectator over this dangerous path any longer but want to act as a true citizen just as His Exellency, The President told us at his first inauguration as the President of Ghana on 7th January, 2017.
I hereby think and suggest that a cut off point be set for the BECE before enrolment into the SHS. Same must be done for direct entry into the Vocational and Technical Institutions on meritorious grounds. Those who may not have further academic strengths after BECE be motivated enough to be engaged on the job training at the informal sector. I think this will definitely bring a balance in our general development today and into the future.
I think where each student finds himself or herself in the field of his or her academic capabilities, or where he or she is informally trained on psychomotor development, we shall in no time build a proper and stronger human resource development in our younger generation. Genuinely, if the crop of students in the final year today are made to individually face the final examinations in the upcoming WASSCE devoid of any assistance or malpractices on the part of some teachers, invigilators, some parents and the students themselves as well as political influences, I can boldly say we may record less than 30% quality passes nationwide in all the subjects.
I think the truth must be told now that most students do obtain quality grades which they themselves know they deserve them not. Some of such students are studying highly rated programmes at the expense of the poor ones who genuinely fetched the grades through their own academic strengths. Per my deep research and experience, if care is not taken, we may be producing a fair percentage of academically, highly criminals in the next decade, especially where they drop on the way. These same State-funded students may turn to hunt us in no time.
At same point two, if we continue to tone in same tangent, we are likely to import Artisans such as Plumbers, Masons, Carpenters, Hairdressers and others into the country in no time. Can we develop without these Artisans at all? Absolutely no... To me, they even help develop the nation ad boost the economy more than the theoretically developed minds.
3. Is there the need for the league of best performing schools after BECE and WASSCE at all? That is one of the major causes of school or teacher-involvement in examination malpractices. This, some schools or teachers do not only in the interest of helping their students to pass per se, but also to struggle for an appreciable position on the league table after results are released.
I think the League table is a key factor to examination malpractices unquestionably. I again think a publish of individual school performances in percentages in respect of the total number of candidates presented may suit our system instead of the league, where rankings are not based on same strength in terms of number of candidates, infrastructure and others.
4. I think WAEC must be keenly supported to scheme up a sophisticated strategy to curb examination malpractices on serious grounds. I think if there is no room for malpractices, intended students who want to make it academically shall always sit up, and to me, it will help us to place students in institutions or areas according to their strengths and capabilities with less difficulty.
5. Hmmm... I humbly think that no matter the best of education reforms we shall have, if we fail not to over politicise education, we shall never reach our destination as a people. I think education is one of the single bodies that must not be overly politicised at all. It rather needs our collective efforts and consensus building devoid of political coloration. In deed, all education stakeholders know that politics in our education system keeps quenching our educational flames.
6. To you, my dear colleague teacher, the deep cut and crime a student meted out to our brother in the Volta Region a few days ago is a sign and warning that if we cheaply assist the students to write and obtain grades which they do not deserve in the upcoming WASSCE and beyond, we shall be helping to produce millions of such academic criminals who shall keep hunting us even on the school compound.
I hereby challenge all Ghanaian teachers to tell me the extent of our reputation. Where lose our reputation if we sleep with students or take monies from them to assist them at examinations? Same students thereafter see us as having little or no morals and values. I think better late, than never: let us stand in unism this 2021 WASSCE to strongly kick against teacher-involved examination malpractices. We also deserve respect and honour.
How I humbly feel key Stakeholders like The President and The Minister of Education read my piece and share in it with whole heart of Mother Ghana.
But I know it is well in the Lord. God bless our Homeland Ghana.
Source: Gordon Tabiri Acquah/Teacher-T. I AMASS/Kumasi
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