HOORAY, LET’S INFLATE THE BALLOONS and applaud the government for taken such a bold initiative to change the dynamics of education in Ghana.
Yes, the free SHS initiative is not ‘perfect’—it has its own headaches and heartaches. There are ‘bugs’ that need to be worked out. It has little hitches here and there in its chromosome like every other social intervention program. However, in the long run the dust will settle and it will take its own course, provided the stakeholders roll-up their sleeves and go to work and take politics out of it for the interest of the disadvantaged youth. The question is what are we doing to help to uplift those who dropped out of Basic education system years ago, and meander through life aimless because they can’t function in the new socio-economic order?
If my memory serves me right, I think the purpose of this bold and overdue initiative is to bridge the gap between literacy and illiteracy in Ghana. To top it off, I honestly and sincerely believe that the government should move one step further to finish the equation. By that, I mean a level playing field should be created in the educational ecology, to absorb those who have been left out at the educational corridors.
What good is it if we have a bunch of SHS graduates walking around but the majority of the citizenry are semi-illiterates, who can’t relate to these newly, graduates? I’m talking about those who can’t even fill out bank withdrawal slips, let alone to read the instructions or information on medical drugs containers. This group of people is going to be the ‘Achilles’ heel’, of the government’s programs and initiatives because it’s very difficult to change the mindset of a group people who can’t read or write.
With that in mind I’d like to propose (GED) Ghana Education Diploma program for those who for one reason or another had to drop out of basic education system. These people should be given a second chance to go back to school.
Nope, I’m not advocating for a formal school, but they can be private candidates by studying at home and take the GED (Ghana Education Diploma certificate) examination, that will be almost equivalent to BECE certificate. After obtaining this certificate they can continue their educational goals— like any other student or use the skills and knowledge they’ll acquire to function in the new world economic order with no sweat. This will be a win, win situation for the individuals involved and the nation.
This is nothing out of the ordinary because it’s done in United States of America. This initiative has given an equal opportunity playing field to people in USA to get quality education at every age level without any hindrances.
On the business side, this initiative can create jobs. Tutoring services and private learning centers will flourish, so are the text -books publishing companies and their secondary industries.
Show me a prosperous and vibrant nation and I’ll show you a nation full of educated citizenry.
I’m sure there are tons of basic school drop-outs (who thought nothing of it until now) out there who are dying to get back on track and better themselves. Let’s give them a second chance to make something out of their lives. This program should be extended to our prison system. One day, these convicts will eventually come home and join us in the mainstream economy. I hope someone is hearing my voice out there.
*The author is a social commentator and the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi foundation for the disadvantaged youth of Asuom