In the 1980s when the PNDC government decided to reform the education system, one of the key drivers of the reform was to help children move away from the grammar type of education to technical and vocational education.
At that time, educationists and the government felt that the grammar type of education was not helping the development of the nation and that graduates of the then education system could not fit into the job market.
All kinds of arguments were made for and against the system and why the grammar type of education must give way to practical training of our children who would cherish the use of their hands to recreate their world.
At that time, there were three public universities, 10 polytechnics which were not considered tertiary institutions, nursing training colleges, health and other allied institutions, technical, vocational and commercial schools.
Those who conceived the reforms could be said to be visionaries, as today the frontiers of education have expanded beyond anybody’s imagination. Presently, there are more than 80 private universities, about 30 public universities, including technical universities, scores of colleges of education, nursing training colleges and other lower levels of educational institutions that produce graduates that the state and the private job market cannot absorb.
So nobody can fault those who instituted the major reforms in the 1980s that culminated in the junior high school (JHS) and the senior high school (SHS) system and a reduction in the number of years spent in school.
In retrospect, those people can be described as seers who really foresaw the danger that we were likely to face if we did not put our house in order.
The education reforms envisaged the establishment of workshops in all JHSs to provide technical education for our children, so that those who might terminate their education at the JHS level would be able to find something to do.
Today, technical subjects and information and communication technology (ICT) courses that are examinable at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) level such as Home Economics, Pre-Technical Skills and Visual Arts, cannot be taught properly in many of our JHSs because of the lack of facilities.
A few days ago, a video clip went viral on social media, depicting some schoolchildren demonstrating the application of a mouse with a stone. The teacher gave the instruction: “Click”, and the children held the stones and demonstrated as though it was the real computer mouse they were using.
Yesterday, we were told by Joy FM that that school is at Assin Asamankese in the Central Region and that the teacher tried to improvise to give his Class Six pupils some knowledge in ICT before they entered JHS in September.
We are also told that the District Director of Education for Assin South is angry with the teacher for disgracing the Ghana Education Service and the entire country by taking us to the Stone Age in this modern, globalised and computer age.
The Daily Graphic thinks that the blame must be put squarely at the doorstep of education administration: in this case the GES and the Ministry of Education.
we think it is a wake-up call to the government to do an audit of the facilities in our health, educational and other sectors in order to bring all these facilities up to speed, so that they can perform the roles expected of them.
When we begin to save the public purse by ensuring that no public official misappropriates a pesewa, then the state can make savings to regenerate all our state facilities for them to play roles in the national development effort.
Until that is done, it will be difficult to stop the aid dependency that our President, Nana Akufo-Addo, is so angry with and wants stopped.
That is why we urge the Auditor-General to walk his talk of dealing with all those who have misappropriated public funds to save the state purse to fix national challenges including buying computers for our basic schools.