With the ending of the first term for this academic calendar, it’s now three academic years after the introduction of the Standard-Based Curriculum (SBC) from kindergarten (KG) to basic six (B6), but textbooks are yet to be made available to the schools.
A situation the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) is saying that stakeholders can no longer condone, hence, the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) must expedite action to get the books into the classrooms now.
According to the Executive Chairman of the IFEST, Peter Anti, one year after the implementation of this new curriculum, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) announced that they have approved several textbooks for use by pupils from KG to B6, with the list published on their website and Facebook before COVID-19 pandemic set in.
“Admittedly, COVID-19 unexpectedly happened and then, we had a disruption in the academic calendar. Fortunately, we were able to reopen schools in January 2021, and it’s past one year now without any textbooks,” he said.
Another major event he mentioned was a change in the political leadership of the Ministry of Education with the appointment of a new minister, hence, some delay in getting the approved textbooks to public basic schools.
However, after the new minister took office, he indicated in Parliament that, within the next three months of his assumption of office, the textbooks would be made available to the pupils in the public basic schools. That was in June 2021.
However, when asked the same question in December, the minister mentioned that they were still going through procurement and quality assurance processes. Again, in January 2022, the spokesperson for the Ministry mentioned that, by March 2022, the textbooks would be in the public basic schools.
“Sadly, we have almost come to the end of the first term and no public basic school in Ghana has received the textbooks for the standard-based curriculum.
“Friends, at this same time, all pupils in the private basic school have access to these textbooks and have been using them during instruction sessions. I dare say that the dynamics of our school choice at the basic level might play a role in the level of interest shown by the general public,” he added.
Mr. Anti emphasised that it is a known fact that at the basic level, the average Ghanaian parent prefers private schools, hence, those seriously affected by this injustice are the poor and vulnerable children who are in the public basic schools.
“Sadly, when you raise this issue, authorities downplay the role of textbooks in the teaching and learning process and are quick to point to a ‘Teacher Manual’, which according to the teachers is not sufficient to aid in the effective delivery of instruction,” he iterated.
He quizzed for how long stakeholders would sit silent and allow such injustice to continue? Adding that such a situation continuously widens the inequality gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, and the achievement levels between the public and private basic schools.
“Let’s all stand up and speak against this injustice being perpetrated on the innocent Ghanaian basic school pupil,” he concluded.