A group of college students has joined in on discussions surrounding Ghana’s education system following Deputy Education Minister’s Yaw Osei Adutwum’s compelling conversation on Joy FM Monday.
Oracking Amenreynolds, computer engineering student at Ashesi University; Akosua Gyebi-Donkor, accounting student at the University of Ghana; Ammishaddai Ofori, electrical engineering student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Prince Prempeh, chemistry student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology all agreed that their schools did their best at providing practical skills for the real world. But they also admitted that the schools cannot teach everything they need to know to excel in their professions.
“The courses I take at [University of Ghana] are the same standard whether I am here or I am in the U.K. What we are learning is relevant,” said Gyebi-Donkor. “But to some extent, the methods used to apply them outside of school are different.”
Overall, Prempeh says he is satisfied with his studies at KNUST. Besides, “schools can’t teach you everything that you will do outside of school. Some of the burden must go on the student to go that extra mile.”
But he did acknowledge that the country does not invest enough in education. There are gaps that need to be filled, he said.
Some of those gaps are being filled by parents themselves. Such is the case for a mother of three who has resorted to teaching her children at home as opposed to in school, because of deplorable teaching conditions.
Jessica Esarba Yeboah, a woman with prior teaching experience, explained to Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM's Super Morning Show on Monday -- during a similar discussion on education -- that when she moved to a new region in Ghana she searched for schools that would be the best fit for her children.
She took recommendations provided by colleagues about where the best schools were located, but for each one they suggested, the children had to be placed on waiting lists.
When one facility finally opened slots, she admitted them into the school.
Something told her, though, to sit in and observe the classrooms on their first day.
“At the end of the day, I wasn’t happy,” Yeboah recalled. “The kids left school that day and said that they don’t want to stay there.”
What stuck out to her most was the classroom size. “It was very crowded.”
She also noticed that the teacher, who served as a one-man band, taught every subject as opposed to having a concentrated skill in teaching one subject.
“You could see that the teacher struggled to teach some things. She has a bit of knowledge in everything but not in a specialised subject.”
As Yeboah told her story yesterday, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Education Minister, listened in and acknowledged that the Ghanaian school system faces several challenges.
He said that the number one issue is the teachers themselves.
He explained that with the current process, teachers qualify to instruct based on a two-year training, followed by one year of practical training.
Deputy Education Minister Yaw Osei Adutwum
“You cannot learn very well if you only have two years of training. You aren’t going to come out and teach well,” Dr. Adutwum said.
Rather, he advised, “school administrations should hire teachers with Bachelor’s degrees so that they have four years of training. In that way, when they step into the classroom, they know their pedagogy.”
While he admitted that many school facilities could use some major overhauls, he refuted claims that poor performance stem solely from the environment the students occupy.
Facility management and curriculum should be assessed equally, not one over the other, he said.
But the President of the National Union of Ghanaian Students in China, Julius Dzah, contends that in the Asian country, students excel academically because of the upkeep of the schools.
“Education in China is regarded as a right to the citizen,” Dzah said on Joy FM Monday. “The classes are comfortable whether it’s in Beijing or a village because they have resources to make sure that the student actually learns.”
But Adutwum repudiated that every country has challenges with facilities.
“The focus is clear. If you don’t focus on the curriculum and just talk about building new facilities, you will get the same outcome.”
Meanwhile, under the Akufo-Addo administration, 70 schools throughout the country are under renovation, according to the Ghanaian Times. Those schools include the construction of a new fence wall at the Accra Girls Senior High School and the replacement of outdated equipment at the Braille Production Centre in Accra.
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