Education minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh NAPO
Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Minister of Education

The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has described the era of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the best time to study in Ghana.

According to him, the introduction of the Free SHS education policy has resulted in an increment in student enrolment by some 31 per cent, as opposed to the spectre of 100,000 students falling out of school each year at the junior high school (JHS) level in the years before 2017.

Success chalked up

Dr Prempeh indicated that, “for the first time in 10 years, under President Akufo-Addo, we have said this and nobody has been able to dispute it, every child in every SHS has been supplied with all the core textbooks. It has never happened before.

“Not only have we supplied the core textbooks, we have also supplied revision books in Maths. Not only that, we are buying questions and answers of the past WAEC exams since 1993 for the students to learn. There is no better time to study in Ghana than now,” he said.

The minister stated this when he joined President Akufo-Addo at a meeting with members of the Ghanaian community in Paris, as part of the latter’s official visit to that country.

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No excuse

Dr Prempeh indicated that when the northern grants were established by Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, there were only two schools in the whole of the three northern regions.

“It did not prevent Dr Nkrumah from starting bursaries for the northern schools.

“Not having enough classrooms will never stop us from having Free SHS.

In fact, Ghanaians have voted, and enrolment increased by 31 per cent in 2017 and 2018,” he said.

Double Track

Towards addressing issues associated with the introduction of the Double Track school system, Dr Prempeh indicated that 8,000 teachers were specifically employed.

“We did the timetables that we needed, and the President ordered the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, to provide financial clearance, and we did.

“It includes the 59,000 teachers we have employed between now and then.

It is not very true what you hear when you listen to the social media always.

Sometimes your judgement becomes clouded with the truth,” he added.

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Bachelor of education

With the introduction of the four-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree in 2018 in the country’s colleges of education, the minister noted that, “there is no teacher going to be a diploma teacher.

Everyone who is coming out will get a degree.”

The conversion of colleges of education into university colleges by the Akufo-Addo government, Dr Prempeh stressed, had resulted in a record number of students seeking admission.

“When they were diploma students, they spent an inordinate amount of time doing top-ups in other schools, and not concentrating in the classroom.

Now, it is not a second-rate school to go to because they couldn’t get into the university.

It is a choice that they have decided to make as teachers,” he said.

New curriculum

“We are training teachers in the new curriculum this year.

Things will get better.

Education is such that you have to put in a huge investment before you can reap the fruits.

“It is not like taking your child to the hospital.

That is instant.

It takes time and we need patience from Ghanaians.

Ghana’s education has never been as best as it is now, and it will get better,” Dr Prempeh added.

Source: Daily Graphic