Those in charge of education do not believe in the basic education system – Rev. Isaac Owusu

President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Reverend Isaac Owusu, has attributed the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards public basic school education to the apathy of policymakers to the basic education system in Ghana.

According to him, the policy formulators and key stakeholders in the public school system are not directly affected by the rot festering in the basic school system thus their lethargic attitude to solving the problems riddling the system.

He noted that the wards of ministers of education, education directors, district chief executives and even head teachers of public basic schools do not attend the public basic school thus there is no sense of urgency to fix the problem.

The problems he was referring to are highlighted in JoyNews’ documentary, Ghana’s Schools of Shame which show school pupils learning on the bare floor with no furniture, and most schools unable to boast of neither decent building infrastructure nor textbooks to facilitate teaching and learning.

He noted that the only way to get quick results in Ghana’s public basic schools was if these key stakeholders were forced to enroll their wards there.

“Some of us are advocating that it looks as if the policy formulators and key stakeholders when it comes to public basic schools, all those who are in charge, majority do not believe in the basic education system. Because the reason is simple, these people do not have their children in these public schools.

“If you are a DCE, you are the head of DEOC (District Education Oversight Committee). You are the chairman and let’s ask ourselves, how many DCEs or MCEs have their children or grandchildren in these public basic schools. We the minister, we have the directors, even we have heads of public schools, their children are not in public schools. So how then do we even fight for tables?” he said.

He noted that the lack of essential textbooks makes rubbish of the new standard base curriculum the government introduced in 2019.

According to him, without the textbooks, teachers would not be able to teach the pupils as they ought to.

“…with the standard base the child is at the centre of lesson delivery, you the teacher, you’re only acting as a facilitator to guide the child. And the textbook is a very important reference material. When the teacher I deliver, the child would have to go home using the textbook as a reference material to be able to perform the assignment given to the child.

“So if the teacher was given a resource pack, the resource packs are not textbooks. They are only materials that were supposed to guide the teacher to understand the standard based curriculum. The textbook comes along with a teachers’ guide,” he said.

Reverend Owusu says it appears that one of the major reasons why there seems to be an overconcentration on senior high school education in the country is mainly because students there are often at the eligible age to cast their vote in an election.

“So these things are not available and close to three years now. And see the irony is that if we can produce a single textbook and then we think that we can give Ipad to over 1.2 million students in the secondary school, is it because they are eligible to vote?  We need to be serious as a country, because you cannot build if your foundation is very weak,” he said.

He said parents whose children attend public basic schools should take the government to task.

“And it is my prayer that the parents whose children are in these public schools, who have a social contract with the government will begin to speak up. The government should be responsible,” he said.

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