The basic school concept and its application in Ghana

Classroom Learning We destroy the education of our children at the foundation level by not insisting on quality.

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 Source: Paul Kwabena Wadie

In 2003, I had the opportunity to work with the Ghana Education Service as a facilitator in a USAID sponsored Quality Improvement in Primary Schools (QUIPS) project in the Offinso District. My brief as a facilitator was to assist in the formation and effective functioning of School Management Committees (SMCs) in the District.

In establishing the SMCs, workshops were organised in each of the seven GES Circuits in the District to educate participants about the need for SMCs and the roles of the members (Community) in realising the objectives of Basic Education.

Of the topics treated was the 1992 Constitution prescribed fCUBE programe. It is noteworthy that the 'F' in the FCUBE has since changed to 'f'. That the big F which stands for absolute free cannot pass the practicality test, and therefore the need to make it f. Since maintaining the big F would mean a man siring a child and packaging him to school by contributing nought towards the child's education or miseducation.

But my interest is in the B (Basic) of the fCUBE and how we are implementing it in Ghana. I read something about the three (3) Rs-Reading, Writing and Arithmatic being everything about basic education. That anyone who claims to have had Basic Education should be able to read, write and do simple arithmatic. It is indeed the foundation of formal education in its entirety.

But during my national service as a facilitator, I came to realise that in Ghana, basic education is equated to the number of years one spends in school. It is even more worrying when one considers one aspect of the educational reforms which encourages wholesale promotion of pupils. So what we have is basic school graduates who are unable to do any of the 3 Rs.

I do not know how we expect to get at the secondary level with standards comparable to enlightened nations. In effect, we destroy the education of our children at the foundation level by not insisting on quality.

How to correct this anomally is my headache. But it can be done if we are committed to it. By conducting an honest assessment of P6 pupils to appreciate the competence of our pupils vis-a-vis the 3Rs. I mean honest because of the level of examination malpractices-another topic of interest- in this country. Then we ask for improvement in subsequent years till we get there.

Columnist: Paul Kwabena Wadie