Regional News of 2014-06-18

‘Gov’t must prioritise basic education’

The proprietor of Crown and Glory School at New Gbawe in Accra, Mr Yaw Amankwah, has asked government to prioritise basic education, as it is the foundation of education for children.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on Monday, he said, “Basic education is the bedrock of education. If you don’t get the basics right, everything else is wrong and I don’t see why as a nation we can’t prioritise basic education.

“It is as if all attention is on the tertiary and the secondary [education] but it doesn’t make sense. So the majority of pupils in other places can’t read well and if you can’t read well, where is the comprehension going to come from?”

The proprietor stressed that pupils in basic school had to be taught how to read well, disclosing that at his school getting children to read as early as possible was important.

“Latest at age five you should be reading and at six there should be no word you cannot pronounce,” he said.

He contended that when pupils were taught how to read, teaching of Mathematics and Science became easier.

“If the child can hardly read, how do you explain things to the child? So if we should prioritise basic education which I think we are not doing as a nation, our educational standard will really improve,” Mr Amankwah noted.

Disparities between urban and rural areas

Bemoaning the disparities in the levels of education in rural and urban areas, he stated, “When I go to my hometown, which is Asaase in the Ashanti region, I am shocked. The disparities are alarming.”

He said pupils in Class Six or Form One in most rural schools found it difficult to spell simple words, while asking them for the meanings of words was like asking them to perform an impossible task, even though they were going to write the same examination with those in the big cities.

“So you see, about 70 per cent of them will drop off and this is a huge chunk. And if we had got them to read early, and provided the basic infrastructure at that level, then perhaps, they could also have joined that small group to swell it, then we proceed from there,” he said.

According to him, “as things stand now, it is as if everyone has been left to their own fate. A few that are able to progress to the next stage, even there, you have to sift.”

Background

Mr Amankwah went to business school, after which he started off as a politician and contested elections in 2004 as an independent MP aspirant.