“Falling Standards Of Education”– Who’s Fault?

Thu, 3 Jun 2010 Source: Kingsford, Charles

The above quote has become a cheap cliché that politicians and technocrats feed on and it is very worrying and saddening when you consider that very soon the results of the BECE and WASSCE examinations would be out. Teachers, Headmasters, Directors of Education and particularly the Director General of the Ghana Education Service and the Sector Minister would be called upon both by the media and in fora to respond to queries as to why students did not perform as expected.

More devastating is that the very institutions or individuals whose actions and inactions, directly or indirectly affect the proper, efficient and effective delivery of education in the country would also query educational authorities as if they did not contribute to the mess.

There is an upcoming Census and opening of Electoral registers; these events as usual come with the unfounded notion by Society, the Electrical Commission and Statistical Service that teachers can do their work better for them, forgetting that the teacher has work to do in the classroom; this recurrent situation has always had terrible impact on education delivery and the ability of Ghana Education Service to perform. At the end of all Census and Electoral processes the Electrical Commission and the Statistical Service are congratulated and praised for the good work done, but all including these same institutions would forget their transgressions then turn to blame teachers for poor standards of education in the country.It is unacceptable for the Electoral Commission and the Statistical Service to engage teachers to do work that will in turn affect the performance of the teacher and the pupils/students the nation has tasked the teacher to prepare for the future, under the guise of a so called “National Assignment”. What is more a National Assignment than the teachers’ work?

Unfortunately that people at helm of affairs having been taught by a teacher uninterruptingly to become what they are today, expect teachers to shirk their responsibilities of constant classroom interactions with their pupils and students to the detriment of the Nation. The issue about standard of education falling did not start overnight; it is the results and effects of the inappropriate use of the services of the teacher over the years that have culminated into what we see now.

The tussle over 3 or 4 year SHS duration stems from the diverse inappropriate use of the services of the teacher and among other things pupil/student and teacher interactions which we all refuse to acknowledge. As a nation we pretend that we have no idea of the extra man hours and hard work the teacher and Pupils/students who perform well put in and with the support of parents. Have you paused to ask yourself why private schools keep topping the academic stages all the time? Who are you a teacher in a private school to absent yourself from school, not prepare your lesson notes and teach properly or join registration or census teams to the detriment of your class and collect the salary for no work done in the school? You would be dismissed instantly.

What happens in GES?Even when a daring official in the Service tries to infuse a sense of job responsibility into a teacher, a big-man/woman, Minister or some politician will get the official transferred or to proceed on leave; If you are one of such persons, burry your head in shame: you are contributing to the falling standards in Education.

Again to the upcoming census, the Statistical Service will as usual use teachers for the length of period; I am aware that this time round, the Statistical Service has officially requested from the GES, an army of teachers to use for the census - “National Assignment”, a process that will span through the period pupils/students will actively be in school. Prior to the request to the GES the Statistical Service placed an advert in the dailies requesting applicants to apply on line, and by this method many teachers have already registered. The situation is that many teachers with no reference to the GES, have registered on line, and this is seriously going to affect teaching and learning; if care is not taken, some schools may even have to be closed down because the teachers will be involved with the census: in a situation like that I wouldn’t be surprised if the GES is blamed.

Teachers who leave their classrooms for weeks-un-end would receive their salaries for no work done in the classroom in addition to the wages from the Statistical Service or Electoral Commission.

To stop this unfortunate situation can’t the Statistical Service and the Electoral Commission train and use unemployed graduates, recently released youth teachers who were in the classroom as part of the Youth Unemployment Scheme, students awaiting results, persons who are yet to serve on National Service Scheme and those who have finished their service, but are not employed, rather than take teachers out of the classrooms with the attendant loss of huge contact hours that can never be recovered? Time once spent can never be spent again.

Please Statistical Service and Electoral Commission, Mr. Minister of Education, Director General of GES, GNAT and NAGRAT and all other Institutions please go back to the table and release Teachers out of whatever programmes you have outlined for 2010 and in future.

Charles Kingsford

Oguaa Hall University of Cape Cost Cape Coast

Columnist: Kingsford, Charles