Four Years SHS Policy: A Look At The Awudome Shs Situation
Anyway, Awudome Senior High School (AWUSCO) should count herself lucky. At least, their six unit classroom block was handed over to them in September 2010. The project formed part of government’s infrastructure improvement programme in preparedness for the four years system. I was excited for two reasons when I heard that AWUSCO’s six unit classroom block was handed over to the school’s administrators. One, the image of my former school is lifted high and two, admission of first year students into the school will be hustle free considering the probable problems of the four years system. As a matter of luck, National Service Scheme posted me to Awudome SHS to serve mother Ghana. Thanks to the 40th anniversary planning committee (celebrated in 2003), the general outlook of the school befits the grade “A” status conferred on it by the Ghana Education Service. I’m highly impressed with the transformation the school underwent in the last ten years. However, AWUSCO still has problems; problems created by our policy makers. When will politicians do us (ordinary Ghanaian) any good? Upon my arrival in the school, I discovered that there are more problems associated with the four years SHS policy than classrooms. Who created these problems? Was it former president J.A. Kufour’s led administration or it is the Prof’s led administration? I’m not and do not intend to play any blame game. I’m only looking at the problem from its genesis. After all, Ola Rotimi says when trees fall on trees, the top-most one must be removed first. A PTA building which uses to house a canteen, a stationary shop, a guardian and counseling office and a food and nutrition laboratory in the 1990s is now being used as dormitory for boys. Why? It’s the demand of the four years system. Despite this improvise dormitory, students still sleep on corridors in the night. If students in a grade “A” school can’t find place to sleep, then I’m sincerely sorry for those who find themselves in the lower grade schools. My God be their shepherd. Dinning session in AWUSCO now comes in two segments. The dinning hall has a maximum seating capacity of eight hundred. It now caters for over one thousand and five hundred boarding students. Wait a minute! Is this what is happening in other schools too as a result of the four years system? And so what you asked? There is nothing more important than time in an academic institution. The amount of time wasted during dinning is my concern. If you care to know, at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) lectures go on even when an SRC week event meant for students is ongoing. That is how time conscious GIJ lecturers can be! I think you can help me find answers to the following questions, since I’m not able to answer them myself. Did our policy makers anticipate these problems? What measures did they put in place to solve them? None? What do they take Ghanaians for? For how long will they continue to play “jasikele” with our educational system? Ghana needs quality education for rapid development and Ghanaians need quality education to be able to take up leadership positions around the globe. Don’t we want the likes of Kofi Annan, Ambassador Gbehor and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah anymore? Did governments at their time toyed with the educational system like what is happening today? This whole “nonsense” must stop. Initially, I thought the Conference of Heads of Assisted Schools was making too much “noise” over this four years SHS system. After all, the standard of education is falling and if measures are being put in place to improve it, why don’t we support it. But I now understand why CHASS was making the “noise”. In fact, no father or mother wants to see his or her children sleep outside, expose to the dangers of the night. Neither do they want to see them stand while eating or learning. Talking about the falling standards of education and improving it; what was the recommendation of the educational reform commission whose report former president Kufour implemented? Was it to increase the number of years of the then Senior Secondary School to four years or to maintain the three years and improve upon facilities and conditions of service for teachers? Anyway, this is a discussion for another platform. Now, when those who were admitted to first year finally settled for teaching to start, I realised that they were no desks for their use. How can this be? Classrooms without desks? How do they expect the students to learn? These were some of the questions that ran through my mind. Until the arrival of these first year students, they were enough desks. How can a policy that grows a school’s population be implemented without improving infrastructure and providing facilities that will accommodate the students and also facilitate teaching and learning? This must not happen again. We need educated Ghanaians to drive the country’s work force. Let policy markers not toy with the country’s educational system. Whether good or bad, Professor Mill’s administration is gone back to the three years system. Successive governments must respect this decision in the interest of mother Ghana.
Source: Edwin S. K. Koge
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