The Free SHS Mantra
In a country such as ours; our strength lies in the creativity of its people, the strength of our social purpose, the development of competence and the ability of the citizenry to act with a unified and determined effort.
Much more profound is the initiative by the HE Nana Addo’s government in creating a social purpose through the various policy directives such as the One-District-One-Factory, One-Village-One-Dam, Planting for Food and Jobs, Ghana beyond Aid mantra, and the flagship program Free Senior High School (SHS).
As a teacher, I would like to speak to issues relating to the free SHS which addresses the problem of competence and the management of creativity. Nelson Mandela once said “Education more than anything improves our chances of building better lives”. Education is the bedrock of every society and the free SHS more than anything is an irrevocable gift to the next generation.
Firstly, I would like to pose a question: what is the role of the various stakeholders in the education system in Ghana: The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education; Teachers, Tutors and Lecturer; Parents; Students; Education Partners both locally and abroad?
I do not intend to answer this question through this write-up. Collectively as a people we need discussions around it so that we might arrive at resolutions that redefine our education and reflect our aspirations as a people.
Secondly, in order to ensure the short to medium term success of the free SHS initiative we need to as a matter of urgency address the issue of attendance. One of the major factors affecting effective teaching and learning and a major contributing factor to the poor performance recorded in West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) over the years. Government is making a lot of investment in this Free SHS policy and as any investment it must be monitored to ensure positive outcome since this policy has a bearing on the other policy initiatives and the entire outlook of our country.
In order to address this issue of attendance, it would require a gargantuan stakeholder sensitization for parents to understand their role in the education process of their children.
The role of parents in the education process cannot be overemphasized because a responsive parent would put teachers on their toes as well as ensure a better adaptation and engagement of children in school work. Parental encouragement and support for learning activities at home combined with parental involvement in schooling is critical to children’s education. Parents are the first and continuing educators of their children. There is a growing body of research that shows that building effective partnerships between parents, families and schools to support children learning leads to improved learning outcomes.
Lastly, a short to medium term measure to turn out graduates with the right mindset to support the drive for entrepreneurship and job creation is to set up Entrepreneurs Club across all the Senior High Schools and facilitating the training of selected teachers with the requisite skills to spearhead this initiative. Also with the influx of artisans coming into the country from neighboring countries coupled with the lack of interest in vocational training, I propose that as much as practicable an attachment to certain artisanal trade from construction, agriculture, culinary, mechanical etc. as a requirement for pupils with certain grade limits admitted under the Free SHS policy initiative.
In conclusion, I believe in education and in the Free SHS and Nelson Mandela sum it well by saying that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana!