Instead of changing public school uniforms and school block colours, here’s what we should be doing?


By Richard Kwashie KOVEY

Campaign Against Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education (CAPCOE), having monitored budgetary allocations and actual release for the Basic Education sub-sector and free SHS over the period, has since joined many others to demand a reversal of the trend to ensure basic education is adequately funded.

Basic education remains the foundation and formative stage of every child’s life. The future of every child is determined by the environment in which they are raised. Genetic Science teaches us that the child’s environment in early stages of life plays a critical role in who the child becomes growing up.

Education operates on the principle of “Give me your child, and I will make him/her what you want him/her to be”. On this score, what the child becomes is influenced by available resources exposed to the child at early stages of life – both at home and in school.

The most critical age is the first 10 years, when character formation takes place and the child learns largely by imitation and exploration.

A well-resourced school with highly motivated teachers plays a vital role in this regard. It not only improves learning outcomes in examinations, but also equips learners with the hard and soft skills to become economically viable in the early stages of life – the more reason why schools must be well-equipped with all modern tools and equipment for the child to explore and identify potential.

On this premise, we expect policymakers to look at enhancing the image of public schools from this perspective. The focus should be on how to develop 21st-century skills with practical hands-on experience using project-based assessment.

We expect the ministry to approach the rebranding by:

  1. Reducing class-size to ensure effective teaching and learning. Every child must receive individual attention from teachers and be well-guided to find his/her feet. It boosts the child’s confidence level and promotes self-directed learning and inclusivity.
  2. Ensuring relevant tools and equipment tailored to needs of the 21st-century job market are available in the classroom – i.e. a modern library, STEM labs, etc.

III. Developing a curriculum and investing in education to prepare the child right from kindergarten to begin adding value to our God-given natural resources without the sale of raw materials.

  1. Eliminating schools under trees and improving access in rural communities where there are no public schools.
  2. Taking steps to reduce the drop-out rate in urban slums and deprived communities, to ensure the country taps into the potential of every child irrespective of his/ her disability status or geographical location to contribute gainfully to the economy.
  3. Introducing coding in grade four to expose learners to the opportunities provided by technology in running business and industry. This would reduce scams and fraud among the youth, and provide them with meaningful living standards even at early grades.

Change of colours

CAPCOE has no issue with which colour the students wear and that of classroom blocks, but we believe it is the least of priorities if the intention is to promote quality learning in our basic schools.

We are therefore urging the present government and future ones to target investments in education that bring direct cost benefits, as is being done by the Asian Tigers.

Basic education should not be viewed merely preparing children to read, write and perform arithmetic, but should be viewed as practical education that is project-based to prepare learners for the world of work.

This, we believe, is the only way out of our current economic crisis and heavy indebtedness. No amount of economic policy, as things stand now, will take Ghana out of the crisis if we continue to pay lip-service to basic education.

The writer is the Convener of CAPCOE

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