The Emeritus Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast, the Most Rev. Mathias Kobena Nketsiah, has urged the government to heed calls for educational policy reform from experts in the field.
He said it was obvious the educational sector needed some reforms and suggestions, particularly from those who were active in student development, for a conclusive schedule on the academic calendar for students to be heard.
On the double-track system, he said there had been difficulties associated with the high intake into senior high school (SHS), and that those asking for a transition to a more conducive schedule in the new educational environment needed to be heard, especially in the decision-making process.
Speech, Prize-giving Day
Archbishop Nketsiah was speaking at the 76th Speech and Prize-giving Day of the Holy Child School in Cape Coast, held on the theme:
"Building resilience and inspiring creativity in the girl child through exemplary leadership."
Given the mounting worries of stakeholders, he expressed the belief that it was prudent for the government and all pertinent institutions to heed the call to address shortfalls in the educational sector and to work to create a more conducive environment for educators to carry out their duty.
"Calls being made by people for changes in the educational policy must be listened to. The calls by teachers and educationists, and particularly people in educational formation, must be heard. I want to ask the government to listen and address these growing concerns," he said.
The Archbishop expressed concern over the intimidation of teachers and head teachers in various institutions, which prevented them from speaking out on matters that were important to them and which affected the educational system.
"Sometimes people are afraid to speak and they feel a lot of intimidation. I hope it is not true; but if it is true, those who intimidate them should change and allow teachers to freely voice out their concerns, so that they can be addressed in everyone's best interest," he said.
Archbishop Nketsiah applauded the government for emphasising technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the various second-cycle institutions, claiming that that was the best path forward for the nation to create the necessary capacity.
"Despite a tremendous rise in the number of students in second-cycle institutions and the myriad of challenges that come with it, the government has made significant success in the skilled, technical training and other academic disciplines. I will implore it to keep working hard and consistently, that the advancement in TVET does not turn into a nine-day wonder," he added.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, who was the special guest of honour for the occasion, exhorted the students to be resilient in their decision-making and academic pursuits.
She emphasised that it was the only way they could develop the skills necessary for the challenges that lay ahead of them.
Speaking on the theme, Prof. Amfo emphasised that resilience was the new skill that everyone, but particularly women, needed to function in today's society.
"Society expects women to work graciously aside their work and other unpaid cared work, hence there must be that sense and efforts of resilience to go through life successfully."
She challenged both teachers and students to find creative solutions to issues and situations that happened in their daily lives in order to help them meet global standards.
The Headmistress of the school, Linda Appiah, said in spite of the school's many difficulties, the collapse of the fence wall was a serious issue.
The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) started building the wall in 2015, but could not carry through to completion and was left until its collapse this year.
She made a plea to stakeholders to help rebuild the wall to strengthen security on the compound and in the surrounding area.
Deserving teachers and students were honoured for their outstanding performances with cash prizes, certificates and other items.
The 1997 Year Group, the sponsoring year group, has also undertaken refurbishing works on the Archbishop Amissah Block to mark the celebration.
A neurosurgeon at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Mabel Banson, who is a member of the 1997 year group, who chaired the event, said the school had made significant contributions to the growth and successes of past students, and that it was only fitting that they reciprocated by giving something truly outstanding.