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General News Wed, 16 Mar 2005

Prof says Ghanaians would suffer more

Tamale, March 16, GNA - Prof Saa Ditto, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), on Wednesday said Ghanaians would face more hardships if the proposals in the government's White Paper on the report of the Education Reform Review become operational. "The change from Junior Secondary School (JSS) to Junior High School (JHS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS) to Senior High School (SHS) will cause so much hardship to Ghanaians with virtually no benefit and will over burden parents who are already finding it difficult to pay school fees", he said.

Prof Ditto was addressing participants and stakeholders in education at a discussion on the White Paper on the Education Reform Review Committee's report in Tamale.

The discussion was aimed at assessing the potential impact of the White Paper on fee-free compulsory quality and relevant basic education for all by 2015.

More than 40 participants across the country attended the forum. Prof Ditto said there was no justification in adding one more year to the existing three years of the senior secondary school education. "What is important is to improve the quality of teaching and learning to suit the system and to motivate teachers".

He said a change in name and years meant change of syllabuses, books and other teaching aids, which was an extra cost at the expense of parents.

Prof Ditto said the upgrading of the teacher training colleges to diploma awarding institutions was likely to further worsen the teaching situation due to entry requirements and that teachers would desert classrooms to seek other jobs after graduation.

He suggested the training of certificate and diploma teachers side by side so as not to increase the inequality in education between rural and urban areas.

Prof Ditto lauded the provision of more resources, providing incentives to teachers and greater decentralization as captured in the White Paper and called on the government not ensure that such recommendations did not remain paper work but should be put to good use to improve the sector.

Some participants expressed concern about the exclusion of the needs of physically challenged children to benefit from the new education reform. Others also blamed the fallen standards of education on poor supervision, poor incentive packages for teachers, particularly those in rural areas.

Some identified political leadership as one major factor drawing education back and that the country's education sector would not progress if politicians did not leave the sector alone.

Source: GNA