Senior high education good so far

BY: Daily Graphic
 File photo
File photo

As part of the sweeping educational reforms embarked on by the government soon after taking office, a number of far-reaching policy decisions have been taken since 2017.

One of the audacious policies that changed the face of pre-tertiary education in the country has been the introduction of free senior high school (SHS) education.

This policy enabled the government to absorb every financial consideration that served as a barrier to SHS education in the country.

Issues such as school fees, feeding, core subject textbooks, teacher motivation fees, exercise books, school uniforms, among others, have been taken off parents under the policy.

Consequently, children who otherwise would have missed out on secondary education have found their way into public SHSs and technical and vocational education and training institutions.

According to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, five years after the implementation of the programme, a minimum of 1.6 million Ghanaian students had been guaranteed SHS education, a development that all Ghanaians must be proud of.

As a result, the huge number of students seeking admission to SHS overwhelmed the available infrastructure, leading to the introduction of yet another policy in 2018, the double-track school calendar, which was greeted with resistance from various quarters.

Fast forward to 2021 and the results of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) of the pioneers of the double-track system have been released.
The results have been interpreted variously, depending on where one stands. However, the Daily Graphic believes that all is not lost.

An aggregation of the performance of the students shows that in all, 60 per cent of them scored between A1 and C6, a performance that equalled that of the pioneers of the free SHS policy in 2020.

We acknowledge that there has been a drop in two of the four core subjects — English and Maths — but that notwithstanding, the candidates deserve applause, even though there is more room for improvement.

Let's not forget that this is the batch that had to stay at home because of the COVID-19 and the challenges that came with the introduction of the double track.

Therefore, for an aggregated 60 per cent of the entire candidates to scale over the core subjects, in spite of the challenges, deserves commendation.

Surely, the educational sector has many challenges, but if students perform relatively well, we must give praise where it is due, while we encourage stakeholders of the educational enterprise to endeavour to improve performance where it falls below expectation.

Thankfully, President Akufo-Addo, at the 70th anniversary of the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) last Saturday, reiterated government’s commitment to invest more in education to empower every Ghanaian and meet the human resource needs of the country.

The Daily Graphic agrees with the statement that we need to hold the feet of the Ministry of Education to the fire to demand our pound of flesh, but where there is the need to encourage and push for better performance, let's have the courage and the will power to do so.

Since 2018, the performance of WASSCE candidates has been encouraging, with over 50 per cent pass in all the core subjects, this year being no exception.

We can only say it is work in progress and so there is the need for all Ghanaians to support to ensure that this policy on education, which we know is the backbone of the country’s development, becomes robust and succeeds to give many more Ghanaian children the opportunity to attain at least SHS education.