The Ghana Education Service (GES) has identified the uneven distribution of teachers in the Upper West Region as one of the major challenges affecting education in the region.
The GES admitted that most of the teachers in the region were posted at the regional and district capitals leaving schools in the adjoining and peripheral towns with a disadvantaged teacher to students ratio.
The Regional PRO of GES, Justine Kpan disclosed that “if you move to some of the schools and districts, you would find one trained teacher with either a National Service Personnel or a NABCO trainee. When you move to the heart of that district, or Municipality, you can have about 6 teachers in the classroom”.
The Regional PRO of GES, Justine Kpan said previous attempts by the Service in the past to rationalize teachers failed.
“We have so much interference in the management of the Ghana Education Service especially in the area of human resource management and that is one of the most serious problems that we are confronted with as a result of which we are recording these abysmal performances,” he said.
Mr Kpan said the GES was inundated with calls from political figures, traditional and religious authorities and other prominent people in the region to halt or reverse the transfer of friends, family or political party affiliates.
“When you send a teacher to such a community [away from the heart of the District or Municipality], and you will receive thousand phone calls asking you to reverse the transfer or reposting as if those [the students] in there [interior communities] do not deserve to get a share of the national cake,” he said.
Mr. Kpan was speaking at the regional celebration of the International Youth Day at Wa on the theme “the role of the youth in transforming education”.
This year’s International Youth Day Focused on the “Transforming Education” across the globe as part of efforts to achieve SDG 4 before 2030.
Over the past 6 years, the Upper West Region has continued to record low passes at the BECE.
The Upper West Youth Parliament with support from the Youth Authority therefore organized a Parliamentary Sitting to look at the challenges facing education in the region and find meaningful roles the youth can play in ensuring the progress of education.
The Regional PRO of GES, Justine Kpan also touched on teacher absenteeism as another major factor in the decline of education in the region. He said in September, GES will roll out a new curriculum to help address education challenges.
He explained that: “The current curriculum we are operating with is termed as the results based curriculum; the one that gives room for our children to just imbibe into their minds whatever that is before them, bring it our without polishing it, passing their exam and then forgetting about the theories and principles they have learnt.
The Regional PRO added that the GES has “decided to move the curriculum from results based to what we term as standard base curriculum. Now instead of going through the books, putting in your mind whatever you have seen in the book; this time we are going to see how you can try your hands on the things in the book”.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister Amidu Chinnia Issahaku said throughout the country now, young people are “now actively participating in politics and local level governance” and are making “a big difference in their positions”.
The Minister commended some youth groups for organizing extra classes for school children during vacation. Mr Issahaku also mentioned that despite the challenges facing governments Free SHS program, its advantages outweighed the problems encountered due to the stupendous increase in enrolment.
He reiterated government’s commitment to addressing “the challenges the senior High Schools face by expanding the existing infrastructure to comfortably contain all beneficiary students”.
The Acting Upper West Regional Youth Director Archibald Donkor said the commitment of the youth to quality education in the region cannot be overstated but there is a need to do more saying “the youth are expected to contribute immensely towards societal development in view of the huge investment they have enjoyed”.
He said the Upper West Regional Youth Secretariat would continue to offer unwavering support to the youth across the region, to help the m develop into well rounded individuals who can fit in any area of society.
Story by Mark Smith