A summary of the forthcoming Ghana educational reforms, as outlined by the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the National Council for Curriculum Assessment, has revealed that the West African Senior School Certificate Exams (WASSCE), will be replaced with a university entrance exam – with SHS3 final-year students graduating with a diploma credential instead of WASSCE certificate.
A sneak-peek at the reform document available to the B&FT showed it proposes that students in SHS1 will continue to run a common core programme for one year without elective subjects, such as Science, Business or any Arts programme, until they are in SHS2.
“Graduating to SHS2 from SHS1 will however be done through another Common Core Entrance Exam,” the document anticipated.
At SHS2, students will have to select either a career-related programme that includes vocational and technical programmes, or high school diploma elective programmes such as science, business and the arts.
The document equally said kindergarten, primary, Junior High School and Senior High Schools will all be described as basic schools, with JHS 1,2,3 and SHS1 being referred to as BS 7, 8, 9 and 10 respectively – meaning SHS1 will now be called BS10.
Assessment-wise, the document is proposing that all students in JHS1-SHS1 should run a Common Core Programme called CCP which comprises nine subjects: namely Math, Languages, Science, RME, Physical and Health (not examinable) Career Technology, Social Studies, Computing and Creative Art/Design.
A new examination called the National Standard Assessment Test (NSAT) will be conducted at Primary 2, 4, 6 and JHS2, with the Basic Education Certificate Exams (BECE) being replaced by placement exams at JHS3 to enrol pupils into SHS1.
While this to many is just a policy, educational stakeholders have said the major challenge remains a careful implementation. Not too long ago, Polytechnics in the country were renamed Technical Universities without any appreciable corresponding upgrade in facilities for those institutions.
Although there was some level of optimism with the introduction of career development at the early stages as most believed, it is an aspect that has been lacking at the basic level.