A professor of educational leadership at the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration at the University of Cape Coast, Professor George Kwaku Toku Oduro, says sacking all basic school teachers in the country for the poor quality of education at the basic school is not the solution.

Prof. Oduro has raised issues with anyone who suggests that teachers, the majority of whom are very hardworking, in spite of restrictive conditions, must be sacked for failure of leadership.

The poor performance of students in the BECE exams has generated discourse on strategies for improving the quality of delivering basic school education in our country.

To stem the trend, a former Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Professor Stephen Adei, has singled out teachers as the cause of the poor performance and consequently called on government “to simply sack all teaching staff” to guarantee an improved performance of public basic schools in the country.

This, according to Prof. Oduro, is not the first time Prof. Adei has isolated teachers for blame. He stated that on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show in April 2012, Prof. Stephen Adei made a similar argument that teachers should be held responsible for the poor performance of basic schools.

The professor of educational leadership states that Prof Adei being a former Chairman of the NDPC which has planning at the core of its operations, should acknowledge that no matter the effectiveness of a teacher, little achievement can be recorded if the requisite teaching – learning materials, laboratory equipment, predictable academic calendar etc., are absent or less-available in the school system.

He posed three questions: “Is he suggesting that there is no committed, effective teacher in our public basic schools? Is the teacher factor the only determinant of quality performance in our basic schools?  Do teachers, particularly those in disadvantaged schools, operate in a supportive teaching and learning environment?”

Prof. Oduro contends that, from a narrow perspective, he can appreciate why the teacher has persistently become the first target of blame in this worrying quality devaluing trend in Ghana’s basic schools. 

He quizzes, “But is it fair that Prof. Adei should single out teachers, blame them for the poor performance of basic schools, and recommend that they all be sacked? It is absolutely not fair and raises questions about the extent to which Prof Adei respects teachers, particularly those who operate under very trying conditions in disadvantaged basic schools.  Is Prof Adei suggesting that teachers do not need to be supported to enable them perform their fundamental teaching tasks in the school effectively?”

He asserts that if the issue starts with a good teacher, then Prof. Adei should be concerned and hold the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service accountable when logistics to support teaching and learning, such as approved textbooks; ICT accessories, desks, etc., are hardly supplied to schools on time and at times reach the schools when the school term is almost over.

“If an ICT teacher teaches a child who has not seen a computer before with improvised materials and the child writes and fails ICT in BECE, why should the child’s failure warrant be sacking the teacher? “

 He maintains that Prof. Adei should be concerned when the salaries of newly posted teachers are unnecessarily delayed.

He asked, “As a former Chairman of the NDPC, he should be concerned about policies such as the wholesale promotions policy, which mandates schools to promote pupils to the next grade, irrespective of their performance. In one breath, Prof. Adei expresses worry about the poor supervision of teachers, which I do not contest. Yet, in another breath, he suggests all teachers must be sacked so they reapply. If the problem is supervision, why sack teachers? Why does he not call for a revolutionary transformed   supervision structure? What difference would it make if all public-school teachers are sacked and made to reply only to work within the same poor supervision structure and unsupportive school environment?” 

He subsequently drew Prof Adei’ s attention to the fact that unless the school and teacher support system improves, even if government sacks all public-school teachers, appoints angels and place them in such poor supervision context, students will still underperform. He should also remember that revolutionary strategies are premised on fairness. His proposed revolutionary strategy should therefore be underpinned by fairness to basic school teachers and rather target Government that has since 2017 sacrificed quality basic education for its poorly managed Free Senior High School policy and weakened PTA support for schools.

He ended, “Why should teachers, majority of whom are very hardworking, in spite of restrictive conditions be sacked?  Sacking all teachers and reappointing new ones is definitely not the solution. Create supportive teaching environment for teachers and they will surely perform.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.