There is the need to review the country’s educational system to identify the bottlenecks and fix them rather than scrapping the Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) system, David Ofori Acheampong, General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has said.
According to him, inasmuch as some JHS and SHS students fail to meet expectations, several others have gone through that system and are exceeding expectations, hence scrapping them will not be the best of solutions to the challenges bedevilling the sector.
His comments follow the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference urging the government to bring back the O and A level system of education and scrap the JHS and the SHS.
The Conference in a communiqué said: “If JHS and SHS was not an inferior form of education, why do they take their children out of it when they have the money to do so?
“We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because the quality of the products of the schools and the universities today, leaves much to be desired. Any employer today knows that there are many of our graduates who cannot even read and write English properly. D. We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because prestigious schools in Ghana (like Wesley Girls’ High School) do their own entrance examination to screen their students.
“Why would they do another screening examination if the JHS results could be trusted? It is obvious that even the secondary schools do not trust the JHS system. e. We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because universities do their own entrance examination to screen their students. Why do the medical schools do another examination after the SHS results?
“Under the old system, the ‘A’ level results were accepted as the basis for entrance into the university. It is obvious that the universities do not trust the SHS system and that is why they do an entrance examination for medical school. f. We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because international universities require our SHS graduates to do a foundational course for a whole year before admitting them to the university proper. Years ago, graduates from secondary schools in Ghana did not have to do such foundational courses because they already had a good foundation. g. We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because of the quality of the examinations which they write. h. We call the JHS and SHS an inferior form of education because we have reason to doubt the current ability of the WAEC to conduct credible examinations.”
But speaking in an interview on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Tuesday 14 March, Mr Acheampong said: “We need to look at the issues affecting the JHS and fix them rather than scrapping the JHS and the SHS.
“After operating this system for years, we need to sit down and look at the issues affecting the sector. We need a national developmental agenda devoid of politics where all stakeholders including the bishops and government officials will deliberate on the way forward.”
In another interview with Citi FM, he had said: “It is not an issue of five years or ten years’ duration. Society is supposed to be dynamic, so at certain times we have to make certain changes. But the point is that we can sacrifice quality at the expense of the changes that we have made. Over the years, the challenges that we have had is that resource allocation to education has been poor.
“There is a whole issue of a language problem. We said that we should begin to teach our children from kindergarten to lower primary three in the local language.
“For instance, in Accra, how many of the teachers in Accra can speak Ga to teach Ga at the local level? So, the concepts of some of the topics can be grasped at that level… Let us give the children the opportunity that was given to us when we went to Form One. That is what we should be talking about and not the number of years. I believe that those are the serious issues that we should be concerned with.”