– Minority Rejects NPP’s Four-Year SHS Plan
…Says ‘Duration not panacea to quality education’
Hon. Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, the Minority Spokesperson on Education and Member of Parliament for Akatsi North, has called on government to consider expanding infrastructure and human resource development for senior high, technical and vocational schools rather than extending the duration from three to four years.
According to him, the current problems bedeviling the basic to pre-tertiary education system is not about the duration, but rather management, availability of adequate infrastructure and human resource to ensure quality.
Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe made the call in reaction to media reports that the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government is considering a possible change in the duration of the Senior High School (SHS) from three years to four years.
The Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour, is reported to have revealed the government plan on the SHS duration at the launch of the Ghana Social Development Outlook 2016 at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in Accra.
Prof. Baffour is reported to have said the government is currently assessing the effectiveness of the current three-year duration and will soon make a firm decision upon a two year research on the matter.
The duration of the secondary level education has always been tossed between three and four years depending on which political party was in power.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, under former President John Agyekum Kufuor, changed it from three to four years – kick-starting a chain reaction whose end is not in sight.
The NDC, under the late President John Evans Atta Mills, did not fail expectations and reversed the duration to three years.
The NDC government that took over the helm of affairs after Professor Mills, the John Mahama administration, maintained the duration at three years.
However, Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe said, changes of duration would not guarantee quality education or produce high performance results and that what was most paramount are the provision of adequate infrastructure, availability of quality human resource, teachers and funds, to run effectively.
He said, currently, the circular is the not the problem as similar ones are being run in other countries, stating, that the cost of maintaining quality education is the problem for the country.
The Minority Spokesperson argued that, “it doesn’t matter how long our children stay in school if the infrastructure and the teachers are not available. You can be there for 10 years and still produce the same results, our problem is not duration but management and cost.”
In his view, the solution to our future problem is actually not the duration, but the human capital and the teaching and learning facilities we have, adding, the four-year SHS cannot be the surest way to enable the nation to prepare the students to the tertiary level.
He told the paper that, even if it is found out through research that the four years is better than three years in training our children, then cost would be another challenge, because the free SHS is already an albatross on the nation economy.
“Having been in the education system for long, I can state without hesitation that the cost of running even our three-year is so high that four years of SHS is going to double cost and the economy cannot absorb that,” Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe stated.
He proposed that, as a nation, it was time we passed into law once and for all either a 3 or 4-year SHS programme and allow educators to make long-term planning for the educational system.
The frequent discussions, he said, are causing a hold-up in the school system and that the frequent changes, in terms of structure, are destroying the environment for teaching and learning.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba