Opinions Mon, 25 Jul 2011

Inequalities in Ghana Educational’s system – A major problem!

Following my article re: Is there equality of opportunity in Ghana’s educational system, and scanning the internet, and Charlotte Asamani: http://www.isec2000.org.uk/abstracts/papers_a/asamani_1.htm we need to fight for equality of our educational system.

There is currently a wide gap between those with qualifications and those without even vocational qualifications. Everyone deserves to be awarded something at the end of a learning period to show as prove of his or her study.

Most of Ghana’s highways and transport stations there are street Hawkers. These people are trying to earn a decent living to make end meet. In fact they are mini entrepreneurs. It is a risky business on the high ways with no health and safety measures just ones witty self. There is also is a darker side to their plight. Some of our youths are dropouts from school. Some migrate into the cities and are homeless and experiences homelessness. The problem lack the skills needed for the job market. This might be due to their parents inability to fund their school fees and textbooks and therefore unable to complete schooling.

These street hawkers are vulnerable however to the Mayor of Accra classify them a nuisance. He is pushing ahead to introduce new regulations to stop the business around the city and his team are managing to achieve their objectives.

Right now, the Mayor of Accra and his team are clearing hawkers from our busy streets. This is a wonderful exercise but at what cost?

Can I challenge the Mayor of Accra, to step back and identify wider issues these group face on daily basis and try and explore solutions via engaging with a selection of the street hawkers.

It appears our educational have failed to include these groups of people in their planning of job creation. If they had vocational training or an alternative route, which could offer opportunities for, then they would gain some basic marketing or sales.

It must reiterate again that providing equality of opportunity of education is not an option but a legal requirement for every country with a long-term vision. A country’s future economic backbone relies on education. It is a fact education provides children with opportunities to escape poverty, gain a voice in their community and experience a better quality of life. Yet world wide there are more than 120million children who are denied this opportunity.

Many children and families from poorer families are not only stigmatised as poor and to worsen their situation our educational system is also failing by allowing under the tree form of education in their area. Is this what we call a “catch 22” situation. The child benefit was introduced in 1798 and later stopped but reintroduced in 1909. What is stopping Ghana to address emulate this forward thinking attribute of Britain to eradicate child poverty from this angle and offer children and families a better chance in life. After all our children need a little support than those in the developed world?

Ghanaian ladies up and down the country must campaign for financial assistance to all children as a form of social support to children and families. Stop giving your children to be used as maidservant in homes.

Also no one should allow his or her children to be enrolled for under the tree form of education any longer. Start boycotting any form of form of education and seek for better infrastructure.

I can just imagine what school absence means for a head teacher and the impact for a continuous school absence on the pupils and their teacher. This is unacceptable practice. Indeed the next Government manifesto for the 2012 election must include better infrastructure for all schools.

No Minister will have a good night sleep knowing that each day some children in the rural areas who have less media exposure of their plight “ under the tree education”. These children are being denied the right to be educated in a purposeful classroom and purposeful playgrounds. How could as nation report on these shameful form of education in our country for so long. Head teacher be bold and proactive and be the mouthpiece for your vulnerable pupils by signing a petition to parliament ( which is singed by all the parents even if it is thumb prints). Does this from of education ensure equality in our educational system?

Reasons are as follows: Re visited.

Report on ghanaweb 5/7/11, stated that there are 23.3% of children engaged in the hazardous activities in various sectors. This revelation is not good enough. When is Ghana going to strictly implement the national child labour policy? What strategy has the Ministry of employment and social welfare adopted to put in place a monitor to review and evaluate mechanisms to support its implementation strategies?

According to a report on ghanaweb 6/7/11, which quoted the Education Minister, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, that a total of five thousand schools hold classes under trees across the country should send shivers down the spine of concerned Ghanaians in the Diaspora and calls for a redress in the system. The situation in these modern times when technological advancement in the western world has made it easier to teach children needs immediate attention and calls for readdressing our priorities. How long has Ghana been receiving the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the rest from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) resources? Ghana has been receiving such funds since 2003. Where do children’s rights fall in this circumstances I may ask? Over the decades various Governments in Ghana failed Ghanaian children, and young people apart from our late President Kwame Nkrumah who himself saw the benefits of what education brings to the individual took drastic steps to ensure that most people had at least fee free education to university level. This enabled some people to escape from poverty and enjoy better lives

It is about time the parents from this group are empowered to act in this strategic route and go to UNICEF or Human rights and voice out their concerns regarding the negligence of a Government to provide a safe environment for children to learn.

It would be interesting to give a teacher in the developed world an opportunity to teach in these classrooms just for day and then write a report about their experiences..

The plight of these children and their teachers has been on going for so long simply and this must not be underestimated.

54 years of so-called independence still a report from Ghana’s Education Minister revealed that over 5000 schools are under the tree learning. Since children have retentive memory it is vital that their formative years are carefully nurtured so that they grow up to be responsible citizens. What type of educational tier system do we place under the tree form of education? No poor parents should have to tolerate any more of under the tree education by 2012

Indeed many Ministers and well off Ghanaians are educating their own children in better schools and others in foreign schools when the majority of Ghana’s future leaders are being educated under the trees across the country. This is because most people want the best for their children.

When inequality is stirring at the youths in the face for so long the end results are street hawkers with no marketing skills, some engage in armed robbery, stealing and other deviant practices up and won our country. This is complete negligence on our part if as a nation we rather turn a blind eye to these social issues.

Let’s look at the nation’s educational system holistically so that a systematic overhaul can be undertaken and also compared to the quality standard of education to Canada or U.K.

It might be a good idea to be an exchange programme to give teachers in the rural areas a taste in teaching in a purposeful classroom. Teachers must also refuse to be assignment to teach under the tree form of classrooms. How could this low esteem of young children get them ready for the job market?

This is why in the U.K; the Every Child Matters outcomes are the key areas every professional working with children & families, all statutory bodies and schools and Universities work with.

They have 5 clear outcomes:

Be healthy – Meaning there should be mechanisms to ensure children receive all their immunisation and health checks to allow them to be healthy.

Stay safe- Meaning ensuring child protection policy in place in all schools, the police service, churches and all recreational centres where children are involved. The child protection policies cover areas like physical abuse so beating of children is not acceptable,

Neglect for example: a Government allowing under the tree form of schooling when it is receiving money to eradicate this.

Enjoy and achieve- how could this group of children enjoy and achieve when school absence is the norm during the raining season.

Be economic independent- How could children from this group be able to buy their own house and to contribute to community developments?

I am so pleased that this year the Education Minister has been bold enough to report back to us and has acknowledged that “Under the tree” form of educational is no longer accepted by her Ministry and would be eradicated across the country within her term in office.

Clearly there is evidence that shows that educational achievement is the most effective route of getting out of poverty.

In addition, Ms Asamani’s research has also shed weight to some aspect of my article. Why is Ghana educational system still failing its children and its youths? Instead of DCE need to meet with the Educational Minister to draw strategies, which the communities have identified as an educational for a specific community. This could be in the form of catering school, pottery workshop and basic computer skills.

This approach would no doubt get rid many street hawkers off our streets and signposted to some meaningful form of free vocational training.

On the other hand, when the youths are deprived from achieving their full l potential they have no getaway but to focus on negatives activities in communities resulting in a high crime rate.

It is just a great relief to read that this week the Education Minister has release a free apprenticeship for JSS students who are unable to continue higher education. This is a brilliant move and should be uniform across the all the regions in order to ensure an equal opportunity policy. Lets get rid of all street hawkers through this way. Let empower our street hawkers to have the basic skills for our job markets.

Everything the Government and private individuals do need to be aimed at ensuring equality of services.

Let us budget for every one in our communities because each and every one of us is special.

I’m sure this is the strategic objective of the Education Minister.

Ghana wants to encourage children from all our regions to achieve their full potential in life.
Columnist: Bolus, Mercy Adede