The Minister of Education, Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh stated that the Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo led administration had done tremendously well in the education sector, compared to that of the erstwhile NDC government, as 93,000 teachers had been employed so far, and their conditions of service had gone though progressive change.
FREE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL POLICY
Speaking in a recent Interview with the NPP Loyal Ladies, Hon. Opoku Prempeh stated that, the erstwhile NDC government mocked the NPP when it introduced the Free Senior High School policy as one of their campaign promises, which has now been fulfilled to the amazement of all.
To the extent that the NDC on various communication platforms in the country made it clear that, they were going to quash the policy once they attained power with the excuse of the FSHS being “unsustainable”, it came as a surprise that they now promise to roll out free tertiary education during their tenure in government.
ADMISSION PROCESS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Throwing more light on aspects of the free Senior High school policy, he mentioned that students get the chance to select their choice of school whose availability is dependent on their grades.
He added that the practice whereby parents maneuvered their way to have their children placed in schools of their choice had been scrapped from the system, and that quota given to students from deprived areas, as well as needy students who opted for their schools of choice and clearly made the pass marks.
On infrastructure, Hon. said that a large number of new schools had been built to accommodate the increasing number of students subscribing to the policy, adding that the existing schools were being expanded, as students preferred the existing schools to the new ones, and once they had selected them as their schools of choice, they couldn’t be deprived of such choices. For this, the ministry found it necessary to ensure the expansion of infrastructure in such schools.
He added that it was for this reason also that the track system was introduced, to allow students fair access to education in their schools of choice. The hours of studies had also been increased from 6hours to 8hours. Teacher’s were entitled to bonuses through the Academic Intervention as motivation.
Hon. Opoku Prempeh said that most of the E-blocks put up under the erstwhile NDC were not fit for purpose, as they were located in extremely remote areas with unfavorable conditions for commuting by students. In order for those buildings not to go waste, he said that the ministry was working to transform them into boarding facilities as they could possibly not be day schools as intended by the NDC.
TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (TVET)
Hon. in emphasizing the importance of Vocational training stated that everything found ourselves patronizing on a daily basis had touch of vocational training; from clothes, shoes, hairstyles, to tools and equipment used at home and at work, etc
He added that, those with vocational skills were rather termed professionals, or people with professions in the Western world, aadding that countries which prioritized vocational training made so much developmental progress as their growth was dependent on them.
Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) started under the tenure of Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo under former President J.A Kufuor and collapsed during the NDCs tenure, to the extent that the GES committee that oversaw vocational training had collapsed.
TVET as it is currently refrerred to forms a part of senior high school education and is already free, and so the NDC promising to make TVET free during their tenure was baseless.
CHANGES IN THE SCHOOL CURRICULA
The new curricula introduced, was as a result of Ghana’s failure in an International exam between 76 countries and was a means to raise the standard of learning, to make government basic schools as competitive as private schools.
The Minister explained that the introduction of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in basic schools which brought a lot of brouhaha in the country, was approved in 2015 by then Director-General of Ghana Education Service, Mr. Jacob Aworb-Nang Maabobr Kor, under then Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang.
REOPENING OF SCHOOLS
Minister stated that once Covid 19 still remained amongst us with current studies on the nature of the virus, students will not be made to resume fully as it is fertile grounds for the spread.
He added that, it was necessary for the Education sector to complete their academic year after which a decision would be taken on how to run the the 2020/2021 academic year.
He said that, the education ministry was ensuring all schools reopened to accommodate final year students complied with all safety protocols laid by the government to make sure that every student was safe.