The development and growth of every serious country is dependent on the prioritization of education which is solid, well structured and transformational. Education has opened a lot of doors and has often been regarded as the master key.
‘’ Education is the most powerful weapon to you can use to change the world’’ Nelson Mandela.
All those that were deviant to education in one way or the other have recounted their great ordeal and regret of their villain act. Education also promotes effective governance and complete adherence to rule of law.
Fast forward Free S.H.S Program,
Governance is a continuous process and as such the total good and well-being of the citizenry is the ultimate concern.
Previous governments must be commended on their enormous contribution which ranges from the building of schools in the rural and urban centers, provision of exercise books, provision and improvement in science resource centers, provision of modern infrastructural and educational facilities towards the realization of this right.
His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo president of the republic of Ghana must be commended for the bold step taken to implement the most popular campaign promise Free Senior High education. ‘’An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’’ Benjamin Franklin. He has lost battles with this campaign promise but as I often say ‘’ Consistency bear good fruits’’, this same battle gave him a resounding and enormous victory in the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The statuesque has been changed and Africa need change leaders to transform the continent ‘’Change is the end result of all true learning’’ Leo Buscaglia.
The implementation of a policy of this nature would encounter challenges as we have been exposed to, placement challenges, network challenges to mention but a few, the skeptics will critically assess the program for proper implementation and the pessimist shall veer in but we must debacle the microscopic political lenses used in our quest to implement a policy that has been accepted with strict alacrity.
Albeit the need for free education, the following factors must be critically considered;
1. THE BLUEPRINT OF THE FRE S.H.S POLICY.
a. A detailed plan of the successful implementation of the free S.H.S policy must be a public document to warrant thorough scrutiny and analysis of the policy. The document must be spelt out properly and clearly to disambiguate any hurdles therein. The free S.H.S policy must reach everyone including the less privileged and marginalized in society.
b. To ensure the successful implementation of the free S.H.S policy requires investment. There must be clarity on how the policy is going to be funded to avoid any unforeseen challenges to collapse this special policy as we have experienced same in time past.
The investment must form the government’s primary responsibility and priority to ensure that every child of school going age access the facility irrespective of their socio-cultural strata.
The government must take a strong stand to ensure the sustainability of this project because; weak financial systems will underpin the success of the much touted educational policy. Allocation and disbursement of funds must be on the calendar to avert challenges going forward.
c. A bi-partisan approach must be taken to include chiefs and opinion leaders to ensure the success of this educational policy.
2. RESTRUCTURING OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.
a. The curricular of education must be reviewed to reflect modern trends.
Our educational system must undergo changes to reflect modern trend of effective teaching and learning.
We must have a viable educational policy, the current educational system only focuses on teaching and passing exams and as a result producing illiterate intellectuals.
Mr. President, we need results driven and an innovative way of improving teaching and learning which must be taken a shift of our current educational system that produces graduates who are a burden and liability to both parents and the state
b. The methodologies used in teaching in our various institutions is outmoded and must be revisited. The teacher and learner materials in our various educational institutions is woefully inadequate and are not efficiently used but often abused and as such practical knowledge of our education is lacking.
Mr. President, standards must be set to assess teaching and learning to monitor progress.
The current educational system lack the competence to identify potentials in a respective subject area to help harness and build on those potentials, ‘’Education is what remains after one has forgotten what was learned in school’’ Albert Einstein.
Mr. President if our current educational system is well structured, the various Senior High Schools will produce identify and produce qualified personnel’s to be recruited into specific disciplines such as, Medicine, Pharmacy, Agriculturalist, Marketers, Architectures, Accountants etc. but due to misplaced priorities and our inability to identify potentials a lot of skillful personnel’s are going to waste.
b. Mr. President, the fall in standards of our education is as a result of Corruption in our educational system is a virus which you need modern and skillful scientist to profess solutions to the sector. Free S.H.S succeeds if the endemic corrupt prone educationist are identified and cast out.
c. Mr. President focus on the quality of our education to help attract the children of you and your appointees and other men of high repute.
3. CRITICAL ATTENTION TO TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
‘’The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education’’ Martin Luther King Jr.
Mr. President, technical and vocational education must be prioritized since it is the only form of education to help address the growing unemployment which is very catastrophic to our peace and security you are bedeviled with. In the world of work, technical education only produces graduates with employable skills and that must be our focus. Over 20% 0f youth population of about 200 million in sub-saharan Africa is unemployed or in low paid or precarious jobs (African economic outlook, 2010)
Mr. President, you must invest in technical and vocational institutions to address the challenges of, inadequate facilities, poor research materials, poor laboratories, faulty mechanical tools and equipment due to bad attitude towards maintenance culture.
Mr. President, National science, technology and innovative village must be established as the silicon valley of United states of America to accelerate science and technology education as promised by P.N.C in the 2016 manifesto.
Mr. President, it is only true technical education that we can build and develop the already indigenous technology used by our brothers and sister in Tarkwa, Prestea, Bogoso, Dunkwaw and other villages who engage in galamsey.
Mr. President I am a citizen not a spectator and no citizen should be happy about how our arable lands have deteriorated due illegal mining activities, I am also not a spectator and as such abhor the leveraging of our natural resources to the Chinese of the tune of nineteen billion cedis.
We must build the capacity of our destabilized youth to mine and the government must be the ultimate buyer to build refineries to refine these minerals to be sold at an expensive price to the outside world and generate foreign revenue. The days of the repatriation of aides given to us must end.
4. PROVISION AND IMPROVEMENT IN EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE.
One thing is very common with African leaders, they all want to be eulogized for building but they all hate to maintain. One of the many challenges confronting our educational system is deterioration of our schools, majority of schools especially those in the villages are death traps.
Mr. President, rural children are the major casualty when it comes to poor or nonexistent educational infrastructure which is very critical to the sustainability of the free S.H.S policy.
Mr. President, continuous renovation works must be done and our school blocks must be up to standard to accommodate pupils, our classrooms are not conducive to encourage teaching and learning a problem that offsets students in their learning faculties.
Mr. President, access is factor that must be critically be looked at. There must be continuous building to accommodate the deficit as in infrastructure and also student to teacher ratio in the classroom.
In conclusion, if all the above factors raised are adhered to, then free education is a need and a priority. Thank you.
ROBERT DAMBO (CITIZEN)
Deputy National Treasure P.N.C