Adutwum’s solution to repair Ghana’s broken education system

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A mother of three has resorted to teaching her children at home as opposed to in school, because of deplorable teaching conditions, she told Daniel Dadzie on the Super Morning Show Monday.

Jessica Esarba Yeboah, a woman with prior teaching experience, explained that when she moved to a new region in Ghana, she searched for schools that would be the best fit for her children. She took recommendations provided by colleagues about where the best schools were located, but for each one they suggested, the children had to be placed on waiting lists.

When one facility finally opened slots, she admitted them into the school. Something told her, though, to sit in and observe the classrooms on their first day.

“At the end of the day, I wasn’t happy,” Yeboah recalled. “The kids left school that day and said that they don’t want to stay there.”

What stuck out to her most was the classroom size. “It was very crowded.”

She also noticed that the teacher, who served as a one-man band, taught every subject as opposed to having a concentrated skill in teaching one subject.  

“You could see that the teacher struggled to teach some things. She has a bit of knowledge in everything but not in a specialised subject.”

Read more: Quality of education already poor, double-track will have no added effect – Adutwum                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As Yeboah told her story, Deputy Education Minister Yaw Osei Adutwum listened in and acknowledged that the Ghanaian school system faces several challenges. He said that the number one issue is the teachers themselves.

He explained that with the current process, teachers qualify to instruct based off of two years of training, followed by one year of practical training.

“You cannot learn very well if you only have two years of training. You aren’t going to come out and teach well,” Adutwum said.

Rather, he advised, “school administrations should hire teachers with Bachelor’s degrees so that they have four years of training. In that way, when they step into the classroom, they know their pedagogy.”

While he admitted that many school facilities could use some major overhauls, he refuted claims that poor performance stem solely from the environment the students occupy.

Facility management and curriculum should be assessed equally, not one over the other, he said.

But the President of the National Union of Ghanaian Students in China, Julius Dzah, contends that in the Asian country, students excel academically because of the upkeep of the schools.

“Education in China is regarded as a right to the citizen,” Dzah said on Joy FM Monday. “The classes are comfortable whether it’s in Beijing or a village because they have resources to make sure that the student actually learns.”

But Adutwum repudiated that every country has challenges with facilities.

“The focus is clear. If you don’t focus on the curriculum and just talk about building new facilities, you will get the same outcome.”

Meanwhile, under the Akufo-Addo administration, 70 schools throughout the country are under renovation, according to the Ghanaian Times. Those schools include the construction of a new fence wall at the Accra Girls Senior High School and the replacement of outdated equipment at the Braille Production Centre in Accra.

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‘Reduce exorbitant fees’ – Teacher trainees tell heads of colleges of education

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The Teacher Trainees’ Association of Ghana (TTAG), in a press statement, has complained about the “exorbitant” fees charged students at colleges of education for the first semester of 2018/2019 academic year.

The distressed executives of TTAG have said that even though this academic year’s fees exclude feeding fees, the students have to pay what they believe are unusual fees.

In the press statement, TTAG stated that “in the absence of feeding fee on the bills which will be taken from each teacher trainee’s allowance, the bills are even higher as compared to previous bills which included the feeding fee”.

The bill was released in early September by The Conference of Principals of the Colleges of Education (PRINCOF).

The concerned executives said that all attempts to reach PRINCOF to discuss a reduction in the fees have proved futile.

They added that in a meeting with the Minister of Education on Monday, October 1, 2018, the Minister categorically stated that the fees have not been approved by Parliament.

Thus, the executives of TTAG have advised every teacher trainee to halt all payment of the fees until further notice.

In the press release, they also commended the government for the assurance to pay their allowances but advised the government to put in place effective measures to ensure the smooth disbursement of the allowance.

Touching on postings of the newly trained teachers, the Association also urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to release the posting by the end of October as promised.

Read the TTAG full press statement below.

FULL PRESS STATEMENT

EXORBITANT BILLS, POSTINGS OF NEWLY TRAINED TEACHERS AND TEACHER TRAINEES’ ALLOWANCES.

EXORBITANT BILLS

The Conference of Principals of the Colleges of Education (PRINCOF) released the bills for the first semester of the 2018/2019 academic year in early September 2018. The leadership of the Teacher Trainees’ Association of Ghana (TTAG) upon critical analysis, consultations and concerns received from teacher trainees realized the exorbitance of the bills.

Surprisingly, in the absence of feeding fee on the bills which will be taken from each teacher trainee’s allowance, the bills are even higher as compared to previous bills which included the feeding fee.

All attempts to reach PRINCOF to discuss the exorbitant fees charged have proven futile. The executives of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG) in an opportunistic meeting with the Minister of Education on Monday 1st October,2018 discussed the exorbitant fees and it is worthy of note that, the Minister of Education stated emphatically that Parliament has not approved any bill for Colleges of Education for the coming academic year.

On this note, we the undersigned are asking all teacher trainees to halt the payment of the fees until parliament scrutinizes and approves the bill for 2018/2019 academic year. We will also entreat that all trainees remain calm and resolute as we continue to thoroughly discuss matters with the appropriate quarters.

POSTINGS OF NEWLY TRAINED TEACHERS.

The maiden Ghana Teacher Licensure Examination conducted by the National Teaching Council (NTC) across the country has faced and is still facing numerous challenges. This has instilled fear and panic in newly trained teachers who have successfully completed the irrespective Colleges of Education.

Our cherished members are stranded on issues regarding their job security. A letter dated 18th September, 2018 from the Ministry of Education signed by the Head of Public Relations Unit, Mr. Vincent Ekow Assafuah, stated clearly that the results for the licensure examination will be released by 15th October, 2018.

By virtue of this, we humbly call on the National Teaching Council (NTC) to release the licensure examination results by the said date. We also beseech the Ghana Education Service (GES) to as a matter of urgency release postings for newly trained teachers before the end of October,2018.

We hereby appeal that no newly trained teacher should be denied posting as a result of the licensure examination. The examination should be used as a formality to license all individuals who sat for the examination due to numerous challenges which coupled with the implementation of the policy before, during and after the examination.

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Photos: Fire guts Ashanti Regional Education office

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The office of the Regional Director of Education in the Ashanti Region has been gutted by fire.

The fire which started on Sunday evening, Joy News’ Erastus Asare Donkor reports, also destroyed nearby offices, including the office of the Director’s secretary.

Erastus says neither the Director, Mary Owusu Achiaw, nor other occupants of the building were present at the time of the fire.

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Education office fire

Books, reports, files, computers, television sets and furniture were destroyed in the blaze, Manhyia Divisional Police Commander ACP Kwaku Boah, told Erastus.

A team of Fire Service Personnel and Police have been to the site and investigations have started into what caused the fire.

Education office fire

The Director who has been to the scene of the incident said the nation has lost a great amount of information as a result of the fire.

READ ALSO: Delta Force denies attacking MP [Audio]

“This is a national asset we are looking at, personal files of senior staff of the Ghana Education Service in the Ashanti region have all been lost,” she told Erastus.

Education office fire

Education office fire

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Education office fire

Education office fire

Education office fire

Education office fire

Education office fire

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Deputy Education Minister throws out Mahama’s plan for ‘better free SHS’

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Deputy Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, says former President John Mahama’s proposal to review the free Senior High School policy lacks merit.

According to the deputy minister in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, the pronouncements by Mr Mahama, who is seeking another opportunity to run for President, demonstrate a dearth of knowledge in the education sector.

“In other jurisdiction, presidential candidates have advisory teams…that team then gather ideas. They do focus group discussions. They present him with a set of data and facts as to what [the candidate] needs to do when he becomes the President,” Dr Adutwum said Tuesday on Good Evening Ghana, a current affairs programme on Metro TV.

Background

Mr Mahama said recently that he will review the free education policy by Nana Akufo-Addo’s government if elected President in December 2020.

The former President told party supporters at Cape Coast North constituency in the Central Region during a tour ahead of his party’s presidential primaries that the policy is ill-timed.

 “I was labelled a liar by my opponents, who went on to state that Free SHS could only be possible in 20 years time,” Mr Mahama said about the policy that was launched in September 2017.

Backing his criticism of the education policy with teething challenges that government says have been occasioned by the huge enrollment numbers, former President Mahama said the policy is struggling because the current government failed to assemble experts and stakeholders for a national conference on education to deliberate on the policy.

Mahama @ Ashanti campaign tour

Former President Mahama then said the best way forward is to hold a stakeholder conference and collate views of a wide spectrum of Ghanaians on the policy.

Bad suggestion

Speaking on Good Evening Ghana, Dr Adutwum said Mr Mahama’s proposal cannot be taken seriously.

“I like John Mahama very much…I have nothing but admiration for him. He is a funny guy and so I like people who are kinda funny and are not too strict. But on this score, he is wrong, and he wrong and he is wrong.

“…if you tell me ‘when I become President I am going to consult all Ghanaians and collate all their views’…No, they voted for you because you’ve got something and they want you to [implement it],” Dr Adutwum said.

He added: “He can always review a number of things, but the way he is putting it. If he said what the media have quoted him to have said…that the trimester system is more efficient…President Mahama, how do you deal with the number of students who are now in school when you bring the three-term system? Where are you going to accommodate them?”

Review not collapse

Meanwhile, the campaign spokesperson of John Mahama has hit back at President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for suggesting a future NDC government will collapse the free  SHS education policy.

On the contrary, James Agyenim Boateng, says a John Mahama government in 2021 will conduct a comprehensive stakeholders’ review of the policy, which would improve the policy and not collapse it.

He was responding to President Akufo-Addo who over the weekend mocked the NDC, describing it as a party with a track record of collapsing policies initiated by the NPP.

 

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Former First Lady wants women, gender laws taught at all stages of education

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Enough with the laws on women and gender in the books, take them to the classroom as part of the education curriculum at all stages — that is a call by former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

The former First Lady believes her suggestion will give spine to the drive to enhance women empowerment.

She observes that there are too many laws on gender and women which are hardly implemented and hence fail to make the desired impact.

Legal analysts have often said Ghana is good at enacting so many laws but falls short of implementing them.

At a program dubbed, ‘’W3 Summit’’, the former First Lady pointed out it is time to take education on women and gender a step further.

“I think that every generation thinks that we are starting women empowerment program all over again. But if the laws that have been passed for women and children are being propagated in the schools, taught in the schools even in the media on our televisions every few minutes give us one law, it will help generations to know that these things have been done so we don’t repeat them,” she said.

Mrs Rawlings also charged the media to use their platform to intensify public education and advocacy on the laws.

“Let’s all learn about the laws on our media networks. For instance, every few minutes give us a few laws so we appreciate and learn. It should not be in English alone but in all languages. The empowerment of women is not when you talk about it alone; there should be structures in place.

“It is educating people who don’t understand why women should be empowered. All these things have to be looked at. All these sexual connotations that are put vis a vis women have to be stopped,” she said.

According to Mrs Rawlings, it was about time we went back to the basics: ”how our grandmothers and mothers taught us”.

Ghana’s first female Brigadier-General in the Ghana Armed Forces, Constance Edjeani-Afenu, was also at the event.

She advised hundreds of student participants to stay focused and work hard in their respective chosen career.

W3 Summit is an annual assembly of distinguished women who are making an impact in various fields to inspire the younger ones.

Founder, 23-year-old, Winifred Selby, explains the summit is aimed at empowering young girls to break cultural limitations to be whatever and whoever they want to be without compromise.

WINNIFRED SELBY W3

Photo: Winifred Selby

“If you are a woman and the stage you have gotten to, you think there are a lot of challenges, whether financially or society is looking down on you, please put yourself together, be bold and confident and pursue your dream,” she said.

She is worried that, “for our generation, most of our young girls are depending on the men too much, my sister the person is not yet married to you. He is buying you credit, he is paying your bills, he is fixing your hair, he is renting an apartment for you, you are depending on them too much; If it happens like that, you are losing you value and respect as a woman”.

In her view, that is why the main purpose of the summit is to empower women to break cultural limitations, raise economically independent women and raise female future leaders for the 21st century.  

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Former First Lady wants women, gender laws taught at all stages of education

ghana waves news


Enough with the laws on women and gender in the books, take them to the classroom as part of the education curriculum at all stages — that is a call by former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

The former First Lady believes her suggestion will give spine to the drive to enhance women empowerment.

She observes that there are too many laws on gender and women which are hardly implemented and hence fail to make the desired impact.

Legal analysts have often said Ghana is good at enacting so many laws but falls short of implementing them.

READ: Man jailed for lying to girlfriends and knowingly infecting them with HIV

At a program dubbed, ‘’W3 Summit’’, the former First Lady pointed out it is time to take education on women and gender a step further.

“I think that every generation thinks that we are starting women empowerment program all over again. But if the laws that have been passed for women and children are being propagated in the schools, taught in the schools even in the media on our televisions every few minutes give us one law, it will help generations to know that these things have been done so we don’t repeat them,” she said.

Mrs Rawlings also charged the media to use their platform to intensify public education and advocacy on the laws.

“Let’s all learn about the laws on our media networks. For instance, every few minutes give us a few laws so we appreciate and learn. It should not be in English alone but in all languages. The empowerment of women is not when you talk about it alone; there should be structures in place.

“It is educating people who don’t understand why women should be empowered. All these things have to be looked at. All these sexual connotations that are put vis a vis women have to be stopped,” she said.

According to Mrs Rawlings, it was about time we went back to the basics: ”how our grandmothers and mothers taught us”.

Ghana’s first female Brigadier-General in the Ghana Armed Forces, Constance Edjeani-Afenu, was also at the event.

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She advised hundreds of student participants to stay focused and work hard in their respective chosen career.

W3 Summit is an annual assembly of distinguished women who are making an impact in various fields to inspire the younger ones.

Founder, 23-year-old, Winifred Selby, explains the summit is aimed at empowering young girls to break cultural limitations to be whatever and whoever they want to be without compromise.

WINNIFRED SELBY W3

Photo: Winifred Selby

“If you are a woman and the stage you have gotten to, you think there are a lot of challenges, whether financially or society is looking down on you, please put yourself together, be bold and confident and pursue your dream,” she said.

She is worried that, “for our generation, most of our young girls are depending on the men too much, my sister the person is not yet married to you. He is buying you credit, he is paying your bills, he is fixing your hair, he is renting an apartment for you, you are depending on them too much; If it happens like that, you are losing you value and respect as a woman”.

In her view, that is why the main purpose of the summit is to empower women to break cultural limitations, raise economically independent women and raise female future leaders for the 21st century.

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Education Ministry, Zoomlion fumigate public SHS ahead of academic year

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The Education Ministry has begun a fumigation and pest control exercise in all public senior high schools across the country as ahead of the academic year.

This is part of measures to successfully implement its Free SHS programme to ensure a smooth academic environment. 

Officers from Zoomlion Ghana Limited visited some schools in the Eastern, Ashanti and the Northern regions to spray and fumigate dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, surrounding bushes, offices, staff bungalows to control bedbugs, reptiles, rat, ants and cockroaches.

The National Vector Control Coordinator of Zoomlion, Rev. Kwame Addae monitored and executed the exercise explained that the company and other contractors have been engaged to undertake the exercise.

Some of the headmasters expressed their excitement over the exercise and indicated that an effective learning environment cannot exist with bed bugs and pest everywhere.

They lauded the Education Ministry, Zoomlion and other contractors for stepping in to avert some health threats these pests may cause.

Some students said the days of seeing snakes and other reptiles and rodents which causes pandemonium and fears on their campuses are over

They expressed their enthusiasm for the exercise and urged the Education Ministry to regularly undertake fumigation activities in schools.

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Education Ministry partners USAID to advance Early Grade Reading project

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A student reads a book in her mother-tongue, a Northern Region language. Photo credit: Adama Jehanfo, USAID/Ghana

The collaboration between the Education Ministry and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has advanced early grade reading for school children through the Ministry’s “Dagbani Language Prototype” program. 

Education is one of the key partnerships between the two government and they are focused on promoting a quality education for Ghanaian children.  

The Ministry and USAID are hosting a ceremony in Yendi from September 19 – 20 to celebrate the “Dagbani Language Prototype” program’s success.

After six months of program implementation in Yendi, early grade reading assessment results recorded a significant increase in student reading scores among the 20 Yendi municipality pilot schools. 

Decoding skills increased by 52%; oral reading fluency increased from 0 to 16 words per minute, and listening comprehension results increased by 26%. In addition, teacher attendance increased by 32% and 92% of teachers correctly implemented teaching and learning activities. 

The partnership has expanded to 100 districts across the ten regions of Ghana and is offered for children in eleven official national languages. 

The program enhanced the ability of 38,000 teachers in over 7,200 schools to improve reading achievement results for 1.1 million Kindergarten 2 and Primary grades 1 and 2 students during the 2018 – 2019 academic year. 

USAID piloted a phonics-based, mother tongue approach to early grade reading in 20 underperforming schools in the Yendi Municipality. 

National assessments in 2013 and 2015 demonstrated that 50% of children in primary grade 2 struggled with reading. Only 2% were able to read at grade level with comprehension. 

USAID partnered with the Education Ministry to identify a phonics-based reading instruction approach to improve reading achievement scores.  

The Ministry of Education then developed the“Dagbani Language Prototype” program, which focuses on teaching the building blocks of reading, including letter recognition and sounds, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension through instructional materials and teacher training courses. 

USAID and the Ministry of Education printed and distributed materials, and trained Head-teachers and Curriculum Leads, District Teacher Support Team members, and Circuit Supervisors to provide continuous pedagogical and coaching support and to monitor program implementation.

 

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Student sacked from school because father can’t afford vacation class fee

The authorities of Mando Senior High School (SHS) in the Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam District of the Central Region have prevented a form two student (name withheld) from attending classes because her father could not pay for vacation classes the girl did not attend.
“I’m her form teacher. I am only implementing the decision,” said Mr Frank Arthur, the girl’s form teacher, who ensures that she stays away from classes.

According to her father, the girl was seriously injured in school last term, so she was undergoing treatment during the vacation and could not attend the classes.
He said her daughter was worried and had been calling him regularly since school reopened to try and pay the fee, so she could attend classes.
“She called me by her teacher’s phone and I pleaded with him that things were difficult for me, so he should let her attend classes while I find the money to pay. But the teacher insisted I must pay first,” he added.
Mr Arthur, also an English Language teacher, whose phone the girl used, explained to Daily Graphic that the school’s PTA had levied GH₵210 on each child for vacation classes, adding that those who did not attend the vacation classes “are to pay only the tuition fee, which is GH₵100.”

On why students should pay for classes they did not benefit from, Mr Arthur’s reason was simple: “The PTA had agreed that whether a student attended the classes or not, the parent should pay the fee.”
He admitted that the girl was not well during the vacation but said her father should see the headmaster on the matter as that could be a special case.
The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, announced recently that PTA’s could impose levies on themselves for development projects, with approval from school boards.
But he cautioned that PTAs are associations of parents, so students could not be held for a PTA’s decisions.

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‘Double track system brilliant and innovative’- Mankessim Paramount chief

The Paramount Chief of the Mankessim Traditional Area, Nana Amanfo Edu VI, has described the Double-Track system, which has ensured that some 450,000 students have gained admission into Senior High Schools across the country this year, as a brilliant and innovative policy, which must be lauded by all Ghanaians.
According to Nana Amanfo Edu VI, the policy, an integral feature of the Free Senior High School policy, has helped banish the spectre of tens and tens of
thousands of students, who, hitherto, to the implantation of the Free SHS policy, would have dropped out of school at the level of Junior High School.

The Mankessim Paramount Chief was speaking at a durbar held in honour of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when the
latter took his 4-day tour of the Central Region to Mankessim, on Monday, 17th September, 2018.
Describing the Free Senior High School policy as one that “has been implemented to the delight of all Ghanaians”, Nana Amanfo Edu VI noted that
“we are living witnesses to the fact that when President Akufo-Addo said he will implement the Free SHS policy, in the first year, over 200,000 Ghanaian
children were admitted into SHS, for which parents did not pay any fees.”
In 2018, as a result of the Free SHS policy, the Mankessim Paramount Chief described the increase in the numbers of students seeking admission into
Senior High School as refreshing.

Reinforcing the position of the Chiefs and people of the Traditional Area, he noted that “for us, as Chiefs, we wish to state, here and now, that Double-
Track policy is brilliant and innovative.”

With over two hundred students admitted into SHS in 2017, Nana Amanfo Edu VI wondered what would have happened “if this year, we had stuck to the
same numbers of 2017, and admitted only 200,000. What would become of the excess 250,000? What would have been their status in this life?”

He continued, “If only students on the ‘green track’ had been admitted into SHS, and the students on the ‘gold track’ were left to stay at home, this
means that, in five years, and with an average of 200,000 dropping out of school every year, we would have deprived one million children from being
educated.”

“It is true that there is pressure, and there is going to be pressure on resources. But it is better to put the pressure on the resources than to deprive
these innocent children from being educated.”
Nana Amanfo Edu VI, in proffering his own view, urged Government and Parliament to reconsider the use of the Heritage Fund. For him, the Heritage
Fund should be used to educate the present generation of Ghanaian students, who represent the nation’s future.
“The future generation are these same children we are seeing today with the placards thanking the President for his Free SHS policy. When they are forty, fifty or sixty years old, they would be like us. So, if we are keeping these monies for them for their use in the future, and they are not educated now, how would they then make good use of these monies?” Nana Amanfo Edu VI quizzed.

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